Don't Let Fear Get the Best of You
Imagine a 20-year- old soldier on his third year of compulsory army service. Two years prior, naive but determined, he joined a special commando force that was regularly dispatched to enemy held territories to carry out top secret intelligence-gathering missions. He has been behind enemy lines many times to obtain strategic intelligence.
He survived enemy fire and rescued the wounded, he has witnessed his friends die in military operations, and he has bravely delivered that news to their loved ones and provided them moral support. And now he is a man...who is endlessly in love with the most beautiful girl he ever met, and to his surprise she reciprocates his feelings with the same passion. Together they are making plans. In a just few months, when he finishes his obligations, they will travel to many amazing places in the world and then go together to university to study art and philosophy. They will become teachers and pass knowledge to others. In the back of his mind, he dreams about marrying her and one day having children and watching them grow. He pictures having family dinners.
Suddenly, the army alarm brings him back to reality. This alarm only signals the most urgent situations. He and his comrades gather for briefing to hear the frightening news. A flight was hijacked. 258 people are being held hostage. The terrorists are demanding the release of 53 militant prisoners in exchange for the passengers’ lives. There are no more details at that moment. The whole unit stays at the base waiting for further instructions. They are not allowed telephone calls home. They don't know when and how they will be taking action if it ever comes to that. A long week of waiting at the base ends with a short briefing.
"Tonight we will flight 4000 km away at an altitude of 30 meters to stay under radar detection. There are 94 passengers and 12 crew members. The hostages and hijackers are hunkered down in an airport building. We might face additional armed resistance from local military troops because the president of the country personally welcomed hijackers. We only have an hour to rescue them and ship out. Our Hercules C-130H aircrafts don't have enough fuel for a flight this long. We will problem solve when we are airborne.”
A few hours later, this Israeli soldier is in the pitch dark and sweltering belly of the aircraft with 29 others taking off toward the seemingly impossible mission - to rescue more the 100 hostages held by pro-Palestinian terrorists at Entebbe airport in Uganda at the night of July 4th of 1976.
Now Imagine That This Soldier is YOU!
Would you feel fears? Wouldn't they paralyze you? You are super natural, you are this soldier, but on the other hand you are just a human being with your ambitions and emotions. Many times in critical situations, if you face them with fear, you come to a dead end. How then should we deal with fear? How we can conquer this energy and channel its flow to support us? Let me share with you some techniques that I've learned from friends who had special training in elite combat units.
1. Identify the source
Fear has a way of feeling like an overwhelming shadow of ever changing form. If you can pinpoint the reason you are afraid, you have identified the problem and can face it.
The brain needs oxygen to function, as does the heart. The spirit, as many yoga enthusiasts will tell you, finds centering in breath. Breathe and give all the engines available the fuel they need to maximize your ability to solve this problem.
3. Make A Game Plan
Quickly decide if this is a situation you are in control of. If you are in a bar and someone slaps you- the ball is now in your court. If however, you are in a flight that has boarded and the flight is now facing a forty-minute delay- not much can be done here. Where you have the power to do something, choose your actions.
4. Just do it
Once you have an action plan, don’t analyze it- this is how fear, doubt and uncertainty will creep back in. Trust your gut, listen to it and just do it.
Ambrose Redmoon is poignant in his observation, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” You must let fear wash over you and pass through you so that only you are left. Do not let fear shut you down but rather, wake you up.