Friday, 11 April 2014

Walking The Tightrope

I do not view myself as a particularly brave man. In fact those who know me will confirm that I am riddled with all kinds of useless fears, pointless worries and petty concerns. What I try to do in life, rather than focus on what I fear, is to focus on the future. I feel the fear and do it anyway. My personal goal has been, and still is, to live a life where fear is not my deciding factor, to live a life where I see opportunity, not danger. I cannot live a life without fear, but I sure can live a life not boxed in by fear.

We all have fears, about ourselves, our finances, our families, the world around us. It's no surprise that many of us limit our lives by what we fear. The foolish thing is that it not need be so. The vast majority of what we fear comes from within, from our own self doubts, a lack of confidence in our own ability to handle what life gives us. We live in fear because we are afraid that we might fail, we might not reach a standard that we set for ourselves. The great tragedy is that so much of what we fear will never happen, and yet we limit ourselves by the possibility that it might happen.

A young friend of mine was over the other day. We were talking about how his own fears are framing his life these days, of what he is afraid of and how it is impacting his present and his future. I wanted to help him understand that the things he feared were so small that when they actually happened he would barely notice them, that his life would continue and that he would move forward through the simple act of waking up each day. Then, one day, he wouldn't wake up, and that would be that.

I likened it to a tightrope. Each of us walks this tightrope in life, focused clearly on what is ahead and around us. That tightrope is our fear, stretched tightly, we balanced precariously upon it. Our focus is so much on our fear of falling off the tightrope that we completely fail to look down. After all, when you are on a tightrope the first rule is don't look down. Yet if we did, if we broke that rule, we would see that the tightrope is stretched a mere few inches from the ground. If we simply stop looking around at what we fear, we would see that falling of the tight rope is no more dangerous than a simple step down.

Yes, I am afraid of things. I simply refuse to let that fear dominate me. I look down and see that all my fears are small, even my fear of dying. In fact death isn't even my biggest fear; it's small compared with the things I fear in life. All I have to do is get off the tightrope. Then I can walk, or roll in my case, freely, knowing the fear is there but not limited by it. Then I can be truly alive.


  1. I so appreciated this today, Richard. The fact is, I have spent thye whole last year living in grief and fear. I ran away every time it overwhelmed me. That is why nearly a year and a 1/2 after Al passed, I have accomplished very little except becoming expert at running away, burning up money I will need in my old age, and put over 50000 km on my vehicle sinnce then. I am just now learning to face my fears and get on with life. Ive a house to sell, a motorhome to sell and a cabin to renovate this year, and that wot get done if Im always behind a wheel.Ive accomplished more in his olast week than I have all year, and it feels great! Thank you for these words today.

  2. Richard is often very wise. He lives a life tht should be fearful and is scary but he manages to get through his day with a cheerful aspect. I so admire that quality in him.