Their faces showed slight surprise, eyes expectant. They shyly held onto to every word the police officer said, switching back from his face to the translator. Kids played nearby oblivious to the serious nature of the meeting. I soaked it all in, trying to read minds that thought in a different language. There was one unmistakable emotion, however, that betrayed each one. Fear.
A murder had taken place in their neighborhood. And they were terrified for their kids and for themselves, some leaving the comfort of their beds and sleeping together on the floor.
I’ve not been in their shoes. But I have fought with my own fears.
Fear of failure.
Fear of letting people down.
Fear of things I can’t control.
And sometimes, fear of success.
Two days earlier I sat with some friends who challenged me. They raised the bar for my business. They told me to move forward towards risk. They suggested I invest deeper into the dreams I have gotten a taste of.
It scared me. Because these people are lifelong friends, they recognized my hesitance. And then showed me a movie trailer.
Now, there’s something. In my years of dealing with those who are hurting, fearful, overwhelmed and devastated, I never thought of pulling out the iPhone and showing them a movie trailer. Not even close. But I watched, and was glad I did. Here it is:
Will Smith’s words spoke to me: “If we are going to survive this, you must realize that FEAR IS NOT REAL. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now, do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but FEAR IS A CHOICE.”
Fear is a choice?
I thought fear was an emotion. An emotion that has dominion over me because I perceive the danger to be real. My mind naturally plays tricks on me. I let my thoughts go to what could happen based on circumstances, based on real danger, or based on perceived danger. Life will hand us the unexpected, and because we are who we are, we try to ready ourselves for the unexpected by going to places in our minds that are imaginary. The result can be FEAR.
Violence is real, and at times visits our neighborhoods. It’s close. In response, our imaginations ignite fear – it may be our turn next.
But what if we band together and unite, keeping each other informed and accountable? What if we take a step towards the fear in daring boldness, and decide we will not be pushed around by those who seek to destroy?
Risks don’t always pan out. In response, our imaginations ignite fear in the risk – if it fails, I’ll lose everything. Maybe. But then again, sometimes losing everything is the beginning of real success. What if that risk is something that expands my business, carrying a message to the very people who need to hear it?
In either case, and in the case of fears that each of us carry, there are varying degrees of danger. But fear is not real – it is a product of thoughts we create.
Fear is a choice. What will you choose?