It was another beautiful night of summer league ultimate frisbee coming to a close. My friends and I decided to go to the local fast food joint to get some instant gut rot food to relinquish the appetites we had just created. It was another night I didn't want to end as work was waiting to be faced come dawn, so any delay I could find to stop myself from going home and sleeping was gladly accepted.
We all individually went through the drive-thru got our food and sat in the parking lot together and talked about whatever came to mind. I realized that after going through the drive-thru, I found the individual who took my credit card and handed me my food to be attractive. I didn't think much of it till when I was relaxing with my friends, it hit me that I wanted to ask this beautiful woman for her number.
Then, instantaneously, I was hit with a baptism of fear. Why would I risk asking this random person for her number? Is it worth my time? Why? Why Tim? Why do you have this desire? Why would you risk being rejected again? Why waste your time and emotions?
Letting this fear solidify all the while holding a conversation with my comrades I started to wonder "Why not Tim?" Why wouldn't I risk asking this cute lady for her number? Do I want the fear of rejection to hold me back? Would a man have fear in this moment? How would a real man overcome this? Am I real man if I have this fear?
Then it happened. The proverbial damn broke. I couldn't take it anymore. This just wasn't about getting another notch on my belt or scoring a beautiful woman's number this was something more. Even if she rejected me, I needed to have this internal victory of saying "Fuck you!" to the crippling fear I felt growing at the rate of an avalanche. I needed this for me. I couldn't believe it; this seemed to be the first time I approached a woman who I was attracted to out of a motive to overcome something internally rather than the hopes of fulfilling an animalistic or societal need.
So what did I do? I went back up to the drive-thru thingy-ma-boper and I heard the cute voice...... "May I take your order?" Then after no gap in time, I divulged my obvious intention. "Could I get your phone number?" She replied gently "Sure." I pulled up to the window and collected her digits like a pirate pounding down a beer at a saloon after a long voyage. It had a fascinating sense of fulfillment. The interaction was short similar to the text message conversations that followed.
I did it! I overcame that fear in that instance. Nothing romantically has developed between this woman and myself yet, but that wasn't my primary motivation, so my disappointment isn't very large when it comes to that. This experience was more than just gaining a girlfriend. It was more about me having a victory over fear. It was about pushing myself in a direction I needed to go.
To some men, I am sure this may not seem significant, to others you may never think you would do such a thing. The point I am trying to convey through this tale is simply stated.
Yep. I know that is a bit of colorful language, but I mean it. Most decisions I have made out of fear do not serve me well. Now I am not saying disregard the instinctual don't jump off this bridge because you might die if you do fear; that is not the fear I am talking about. What I am referring to is the fear that produces passivity, that enables silence when a friend takes advantage of a woman at a party right in front of you, that fear which creates a work environment where everyone is stuck because the risk involved for change to happen is too high. This fear, this disease, I want absolutely nothing to do with. Yet, day by day I experience it. The crippling toxin that all too often stops momentum before it can even begin.
There is the classic quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
I like what Robert Anthony says.
"We fear the thing we want the most."
The fear Robert Anthony is talking about in that quote seems to be relevant to me as I am writing this article. I am afraid of quitting my job and pursuing my dream of doing The Man Effect full time. I fear I will do nothing with my life. I am scared of not having a purpose. I am afraid of not being loved. I fear of not being what I perceive is a man.
It seems that my life is consumed by fear, but yet, not physically crippled yet. That is why I want to wage a war of sorts on it. I want to be known as a man who faces his fears head on. That is why this small instance meant so much to me.
What are ways you respond to fear? Do you even have fear in small moments like that? Do you have any cool stories of overcoming fear?
I'd like to hear your perspective on this arena of life! Please take the time to comment and share your thoughts. I personally know I would benefit from it.