Some time ago I watched a TED talk given by Chris Hadfield, our astronaut that had commanded the international space station. The topic was fear and how to overcome it.
He spoke about the training he and others had gone through to not only prepare themselves for every conceivable situation but also to prepare mentally. By putting themselves through the same scenarios over and over, fear was not a factor, only logical thinking. He said the way to overcome fear is to “walk into the web” over and over and then gave the example of how we all walk into a spider’s web that we have not seen and usually give a horrible shiver and say ugh! and fear the worst.
Chris went on to tell about how he went blind while spinning around the earth, in space and while on a spacewalk. First one eye went completely blind and then the next. He did not panic but thought ok, I cannot see but I am safe, I am still attached to the space station and I have another astronaut outside with me. It was determined that fluid had leaked from the suit, went into a tear duct and then travelled over to the next eye. Incredible!
His talk about fear made such an impression on me that I have said to myself “walk into the web, walk into the web” on a few occasions. It has not always been successful and most times far from it.
On this journey, I have had to rappel down a cliff face (it was more like being tied to a rope and lowered down like a sack of potatoes), walk a very high narrow rocky ridge (could only do it in a crouched, OMG, position), learn to roll a kayak (rolled straight over and stayed under, trust me I popped up to the surface in no time, amazing what fear does!) and to kayak in more open ocean water (handled that one just fine).
To overcome fear, we must walk into the web until it has no meaning.
I don’t mind baby webs.