How Stupid And Minuscule Our Fears Are

Today, I stared fear in the eye. That fear was jumping on top of a wooden box. This would’ve looked stupid from an outsider’s perspective, but to me, it was a shock to the system.

I was at the gym with my friend who’s considered a “bodybuilder”, so physical exercise was not his weak point. As it was leg day, we transitioned to box jumps for a bit of explosive training. I’ve never incorporated this into my workout, so it was all new to me.

He moved a wooden box to the middle of the room, slapped down four 20 kg plates on top, and effortlessly jumped on top of it. Looks at me and nodded, “you’re up”. “Easy,” I told myself. I bent my knees and prepared myself to jump. My legs turn to jelly and thoughts race into my head. What if my hit my legs against the plate and face-plant into the ground? What if my shin scrapped across the plates?

“Maybe I’ll warm up…” I told myself. I started with just the wooden box. Easy. I slapped on two 20 kg plates. Fear overcomes me again. I stalled as I attempted to jump but bailed at the last second. This continued for a good minute until I somehow make it. This scenario repeated itself every time I moved up in height.

My friend’s previous record was the height of the wooden box and four 20 kg plates. Essentially, he was in the same boat as me and constantly hitting his personal best with every plate increase. Why was I struggling for a good solid minute every time, whereas he was jumping with no fear?

“Just do it before fear enters your mind”

he said. We eventually got to a height of the wooden box with nine 20 kg plates (the height to my nipples. I’m 5’9’’ 174 cm). This was the highest height we could go since we used up all the plates in the room. Again, my friend did it effortlessly. Fear hits me hard on this jump. I stalled for a good 5 minutes before I jumped. I jumped with my toes only reaching the top but bailed backwards due to fear. My friend told me it didn’t count and to do it again. A box jump is only done properly when you land and stay on top.

Even though I did it, which gave me assurance that I could actually make the jump, I still gave into fear. “We’re not leaving until you do it” yelled my friend. Jump, fear, bail, stall, repeat. This sequence lasted a good 10 minutes.

“Just do it before fear enters your mind”

In the end, I jumped, if it wasn’t for the help of the abuse and trash talking I received. To be honest, I’m content. I know I would’ve regretted it if I just left it half-finished.

What we fear is so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. I think the best thing to do when staring fear in the face is to ask yourself, “What is possibly the worst thing that could go wrong?” Tripping and face-planting to the ground, or scraping my shin against the plates.

“Would I die from it?” Unlikely.

“Would I injure myself severely, and require medical attention?” Unlikely.

“Am I able to carry on with my day if I fail?” Most likely.

It’s similar to asking a girl out for coffee; the worst thing that can happen is for her to say no. I don’t think you will die. Would you require medical attention? Maybe just your ego. Are you able to carry on with your day? Most certainly.

Asking yourself what is the worst case scenario can sometimes shed light on how stupid your fear is. “My fear was trying to jump on top of a box with some plates stacked on top…”. Once you comprehend how minuscule and stupid your fear is, taking that leap is still easier said than done. But there is only one thing you can do, just do it.

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