Fear and Loathing in the Lion's Den
“The coward and the hero feel the same thing, its what the hero does that makes them different.” Cus D’Amato, Mike Tyson’s former trainer and mentor, used to tell him this before a fight.
I find fear to be the most devastating of all emotions. When we succumb to fear it can bind and paralyze us. Experiences we’ve dreamed and willed for are at our finger tips and yet that feeling creeps into our gut and completely disarms us. Things we know we are capable of all of a sudden become seemingly impossible. We are left feeling weak or stupefied.
There have been a few very specific incidences over the last few years where I can safely say fear starred me dead in the face and I starred right F..ing back.
I am a relatively small sized human and I’m a runner. I was a member of AofL for just shy of one month when I was persuaded into doing my first lions league. I was athletic but at a VERY introductory level with regards to strength. I remember feeling a hot surge of anxiety as Freya, Rich and Justin demoed the first event. It was like watching that part of the movie SPACE JAM when the MonStars walk out on to the court for the first time and just start tearing shit up.
Another instance; my first marathon. It was minutes before 7am on a very hot labour day weekend in a small town somewhere in Pennsylvania. My running career had spanned all of 9 months and I told everyone who asked about my training that I was going to run and qualify for the Boston Marathon on my first go. That hot surge of anxiety came back and even though I trained, all I could do was pray my shoe laces would stay tied (which they didn’t) and that I would not shit my pants (which I didn’t).
So what is it?, Fear? Where does it stem from and how we overcome it?
In both of those moments, and in all moments regarding fear of the unknown, the answer is simple-trust yourself. You are where you are in that moment because you wanted to be and did the work to get there. We’re all human. Although there are outliers out there who may excel, we are all capable doing the things that scare and challenge us. Its in those moments of fear where we find our personal glory.
So whether it’s the unknown, failure, humiliation or letting someone else down that causes your fear, remember; “The coward and the hero feel the same thing, its what the hero does that makes them different.”