In continuation of “ Of Fear & Courage ” posted on 12th April, 2008 ( pl refer)
Courage is shedding fear .
I would always cherish the 25th June of 2008 – a great & memorable day for ME !! Yeah - I conquered fear and did something for the first time which I had been wanting to do whole my life so far .. DONATED BLOOD .
Oh, sounds so trivial - s..o..o many people do that .. that too, time and again. What’s so great about it when it comes to me ? Nothing actually – nothing great about the act per se – only when I look at it in my context ( I simply can not stand sight of blood or needle entering into flesh ( Yup!!) & do not laugh – I close my eyes even when a bloody scene comes on screen !!!) - then I feel this sense of satisfaction that, yeah , I have done it – notwithstanding that great urge to run away from the bed when I had to keep on pumping myself and some sinking feeling was overpowering me after a minute or so & the process was to take another 3 /4 minutes. And I actually had a little bit of black-out after it – felt really embarrassed to hog all the attention-both from the doctor and colleagues, who had themselves given blood minutes back and were cheerfully going around in an absolutely normal condition . Well, that was really making me feel bad – but had no control. Actually, earlier also I had similar experience of sinking after giving blood for test during first pregnancy – may be, psychological because of my fear.
Coming back to point – when I look back to find out how I could actually do this, a few things come out sharply :
a. an intense desire to do . ( Honestly, I always think blood donation to be one of the noblest acts – basically u r giving life to a needy in due course . So always wanted to do something of value going beyond self .)
b. taking opportunity of doing when the circumstances give a chance. (Earlier, apart from the fear, either the timing, or the venue, or the organisers .. or perhaps the lack of intensity of desire.., something or other was coming in the way of my participating in any blood donation camp. This time, it was being organised in my office premises, by our office to celebrate our foundation day and was being organised in a professional manner with the help of doctors and disposable syringes. In my current assignment, it was possible to come down and participate, sparing an hour or so .
c. Actually throwing yourself first into the situation before your fear takes better of u . (Yeah, this time I just made up my mind, came down to the venue . Then, although I did have the impulse of running away , I did not do that as I could not have shown my weakness before my colleagues – u see, each of us do face many occasions in life when we just have to live upto a reputation . Ha, ha . So I knew , once I go to the venue , I will somehow manage to participate and that actually happenned .
d. The feeling after conquering fear is just splendid – charging u with greater vitality and greater happiness !
Thank GOD for helping me feel good about myself .
Same night, I could also be of help to a colleague, who would have otherwise missed his train. It was really raining hard when I was leaving office and here was this person, standing and worried about how he would make it to the train, that was to leave just about 20 minutes from then. There was no auto in sight also. I offered to drop him at his hotel, which is near to the Rly station . I am usually very scared about driving when it is pouring, that too at night – due to very poor visibility. Number two – I would not normally venture to drive to an unknown place in such inclement weather . But I did it – and am happy that I did it .
By the way, last year , I decided to drive my car personally – and, for me , this was a very bold ( read courageous ) decision. My husband & daughters were scared visibly – had no trust in my ability to drive a car . Not their fault – my track record of road alertness, sense of (geographical) direction, route awareness etc. was extremely poor. I agree with them and appreciated that they love me and were concerned about my safety – as also safety of others. But what I never liked about it was the hidden message that I CAN NOT drive . That was not acceptable . When the whole world is able to drive, why can not I ? Nevertheless, I restrained myself in view of my job pressure, erratic timings and requirement of the vehicle by my daughters for various purposes during the day . So continued with dependance on hired drivers till my daughters finished with their classes here, although it was taking a heavy toll on me ( & my car … one would shudder to look at the dents and damages that my poor car had to bear all the time ! I was so disgusted with repeated touch-ups that finally just left it with all the dents & scratches . In fact, that gave my car such a distinct identity ( ha, ha) that all my people at office always recognised my car effortlessly .) . Once my children finished with their exams, I decided to take over .
I acknowledged two things –
(i) I am not naturally wired to be a driver & do have some weaknesses which could spell hazard on road;
(ii) but at the same time , it is possible to learn driving and fix those weaknesses to an extent, required for safe driving.
So, I decided to learn and immediately called up a driving school . Timings were very difficult for me – very early in the morning and in evenings , I had to go from office for night driving & come back to office again . I can still recollect the first time I had to drive on a busy road – all alone without the trainer by my side - so..o scary ! How relieved I felt after parking at the office ! While returning, it really took strong will power not to accede to everyone’s request to make the office driver sit beside while I drove back home. Of course, for two days, one of my colleagues followed me separately , while I drove back home .
So , this was also a story of victory of courage over fear – and the basic tenets of the approach are the same in every such story :
– acknowledge what is required to be done ,
– acknowledge if you fear doing that,
– believe that it is possible to learn higher skills in the domain of what you fear , and once you learn the skills, you will be better placed to face your fear ;
– collect information, gather knowledge and learn skills required in the field .
– Act - do what you wanted to, in spite of fear. Success will be only a matter of time.
I am sure, everyone’s life is full of such moments, when, inspite of fear, we take action, because it is worth it and in the process, grow stronger and wiser. I am reminded of what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“ When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
Courage is shedding the habit of not shedding many things
Yes, one of the things that we normally do not think of shedding is a secure job !!
Well, I am not talking about today’s youngsters – who are job-hopping rather a little too frequently. They belong to another world with a different canvass as context. I am referring to our generation – the 40/45 plus, who usually relish the comfort of being settled down and somewhere along the line, tend to lose the appetite for venturing into an uncertain world to chase their life-goals.
I do not say that to be courageous, u must shed ( leave) a secure job, just for the heck of it . No, it is definitely not to suggest recklessness. The point that I would like to make is that there is a tendency among many of us just to keep on clutching to the current job, even if it is no longer giving u that kick and u are already in a position, where u can afford to take a call on other opportunities beckoning u or just to chase your dreams. Here comes, what I would call courage, courage to quit. Newer beginnings are possible only if we are ready to change the status quo – ready to come out of inertia. Yes, do a thorough analysis of your own situation to ensure that u have already put in place a fall back system to take care of your personal responsibilities (like self-sustenance / family responsibilities, which just can not be compromised) before u quit the known and start exploring the uncertain. Once u achieve this position, then all that u require for chasing your dreams is a drive to spread your wings with courage to soar against the wind, if that be so !!
By the way – right now I am also on my way to explore the uncertain – the first step already taken – quitting a secure job. Yeah – my fall back system for financial needs is ready. Feeling a little scared.. but excited . Isn’t that what courage ultimately is ? I am tempted to quote a few great personalities, from whose words, I have always drawn inspiration .
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
- Ambrose Redmoon
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
- John Wayne
Courageous people are still afraid, but they don't let the fear paralyze them.
- Steve pavlina
This much for today … will continue . Would love to have your comments, please .