I’m currently reading Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday. He says it’s okay to be scared, but don’t be afraid. Too afraid to act.
He writes, “No rule is perfect, but this one works: Our fears point us, like a self-indicating arrow, in the direction of the right thing to do. One part of us knows what we ought to do, but the other part reminds us of the inevitable consequences. Fear alerts us to danger, but also to opportunity. If it wasn’t scary, everyone would do it. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be any growth in it. That tinge of self-preservation is the pinging of the metal detector going off. We may have found something. Will we ignore it? Or will we dig?”
He goes on to say, “We must remember that history is not filled with fairy tales, but flesh and blood. Real people, people like you — people no better, certainly no healthier than you — squared up against fate, took her punches, threw their best shot. They failed, they made mistakes, they were knocked down, but they survived. They survived long enough to put in motion the events that carry us forward today. In some cases, they are quite literally our parents, in other cases only figuratively so.”
This got me thinking about the current March Madness college basketball tournament that is symbolic of life in my mind. Before it starts, teams get their placements and the opening round has the 16th place team playing the first. If you decide as the lower placed team that there is no chance of winning, then there probably is no chance. You become what you believe. But if you decide that anything is possible, and you focus on the practice and preparation, then you might just end up moving on to the next round.
Holiday writes, “No athlete just expects to hit the game-winning shot — they practice it thousands of times. They take that shot in scrimmages, in pickup games, alone in the gym as they count down the clock in their head.”
But when the moment comes, they can’t be stopped by fear. They must trust that they are prepared and take a chance on themselves.
Many teams did just that. In fact, the final four teams left in this year’s tournament were seeded 9th, 5th and 4th before they began. No top three-seeded teams have made it.
Anything is possible.
So choose your dream, practice more than you need to, have courage in the moment and remember that someone has to end up winning. It could be you.