RCL #2.1: “This I Believe” Rough Draft
As a young boy, I had my quirks, to put it lightly. While I was not a bad kid by any means, I was certainly rather offbeat; I said unusual things, had weird interests, and was afraid of stuff that no one else was. What was one of my odd phobias, you ask? An educational LeapFrog toy; yes, I know! For whatever reason, likely stemming from an early childhood nightmare I may have had, I was terrified of the toy when it shut off automatically and said “goodbye for now!” The mere thought of that pixelated frog waving at me from his little screen and saying that in his low-tech voice used to make my skin crawl. I vividly remember having panic attacks and bolting out of the room with my ears covered if the toy was turned on near me.
Years later, my twin sister found the toy after I had successfully kept it hidden in our basement for so long, and helped me overcome my fear; by “helped”, however, I mean she pinned me against the floor in front of the toy and made me watch it say those dreaded three words. I recall struggling and screaming for help while she did this, terrified to receive my “torture”. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I heard the frog say “goodbye for now!” The moment after this happened, however, I realized that it was nowhere near as bad as I anticipated, and I remember actually hugging my sister afterwards, thanking her for “helping” me.
Whether it be a major exam one needs to take, a speech one needs to deliver, or in my case, a “scary toy”, just about everyone has experienced a time in which they nervously anticipate an upcoming event they are a part of, horrified at the supposed idea that their whole world will come crashing down should it go even slightly wrong. However, once it has passed, regardless of how well it went overall, one thing many individuals often notice is that the event itself was not as bad as they had dreaded it would be. As one of my teachers from high school once said, “anticipation is always worse than realization”.
Since my own unique personal experience, I have tried my best to live my life along the lines of that teacher’s quote. True, the future is scary, and the fear of failure will always exist, but I believe that the key to overcoming fear of the unknown lies not in fixating on how to tackle the upcoming event itself, but rather taking things step-by-step, one day at a time in order to work towards conquering the longer-term fear.