In his book “Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success”, Rory Vaden describes an occurrence in nature that resonated with me and how I approach fearful or challenging situations. Growing up in Colorado, he witnessed the difference between how cows and buffalo react to approaching storms. The cows, noticing that the storms were coming from the west, would head east.
“The only problem is that, as you may know, cows are not real fast. Before long, the storm catches up to them, and the cows, not knowing any better, keep on running . . . they actually run with the storm,” wrote Vaden.
The buffalo would wait for the storm to reach the nearby peak and “charged directly into the storm. By running at the storm, they run straight through it as the storm passes overhead, which minimizes the amount of pain they experience.”
There are times in my life that I feel like fear has an iron-clad grip on my actions. Almost like the old Pac-Man arcade game where I maneuver the joystick so that the yellow half-moon icon chased little white pellets while avoiding the scary ghosts. I cover a lot of ground but don’t really make any headway on personal challenges.
The old saying is that fear is nothing more than “False Evidence Appearing Real” or a cautionary tale written by our own minds to keep us from carving a new path in the woods. So, why do I cave to this flimsy story in my head? Why do I run from the “ghosts” or “storms” that scare me?
According to Vaden, “it’s more convenient and more comfortable for us to let our dreams disappear than to muster up the discipline and the work ethic to go out and transform them into reality.” It is easier for us to remain at the status quo than take a risk.
In order to combat my fear and transform my dreams into reality, all I need is a little bit of action. Turns out, just simply doing something is the best way to break out of the comfortable, Snuggie feeling of a rut. Taking a small step towards what we fear or new challenges that will push us past our comfort zone on the way to success is exactly what needs to happen to conquer fear. Be uncomfortable. Be scared. Feel the knot in your stomach. Grab the power pellets and turn the tables on the floating ghost images.
Know that charging the storm is the only way to get through it and into the next pasture. Standing still until you have to move won’t make it easier and, in the long run, will only get you drenched.