How To Defeat Your Fears

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I recently spent four days with my wife and youngest daughter on the southern tip of The Great Barrier Reef, found on the east coast of Australia – on an island called Brampton Island.

Paradise is an understatement. The water was pristine. There was no interruption to my daily relaxation routine by email or phone. We ate well. We rested well. We played well. We laughed well. But amidst the tranquility I suddenly found myself struck by fear.

There were three activities on the island that were on offer. One snorkeling, two sailing a catamaran, and three jet skiing.

Now I had done these activities in the past. But as I approached each and every one of these, this time around, a  fear for each of these activities began to rise in my chest.

When it came to snorkeling, and as soon as I plunged my head under the water, I  began to panic. I couldn’t breathe. And it was only when I started speaking to myself ‘Peter relax. Peter relax. Peter relax’, that within a few breaths I was fine. That was until I came across a large group of poisonous sea urchins with their long spines heading in my direction. But once again I spoke kindly to myself and kept snorkeling. My reward? I came across a sea turtle grazing at the bottom of the sea floor and even reached down to touch its slimy shell.

Then it came time to sail a catamaran. One of the seeds planted in my life to produce my fear had occurred some years before, when in full flight the strap that held my foot on the catamaran, that I was sailing at the time, snapped and I ended up in shark infested waters.

But again, with my daughter joining me this time, we overcame the obstacles of erratic winds and the challenge of refreshing long lost knowledge of how to sail such a vehicle, and ended up having a fantastic time.

Finally, it was time to jet-ski. Speed was my greatest fear, and the question that bombarded my mind was: What if? But after a briefing from our instructor I hopped into the driver’s seat with my daughter saddled behind me.

The only thing I can recall is that with every pull on the accelerator, both fear and exhilaration gripped me all the way. But fearlessly at one point I reached 75 kilometres per hour as I cut through the water. Both my daughter and I each had the chance to ride the jet-ski solo,  and both had the time of our lives.

These three events taught me one thing. That while ever we entertain our fears, and fail to aggressively overcome them, we will be immobilized. But as soon as we take action, the debilitating sickness called fear will be cured instantly.

In those three instances fear accompanied me all the way through those activities, but it didn’t stop me. And as a result we as a family now have wonderful memories to share in addition to an increased confidence to do what we once feared time and time again – on and into the future.

My life is now richer because I faced my fears and defeated them.

So don’t allow fear to stop you from experiencing life’s best. Do your fear, and watch fears hold on your life disappear.

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