Do One Scary Thing…

…every day. Doors may open, or shut. 

Originally quoted by Eleanor Roosevelt, former human rights activist, diplomat, and First Lady of the United States, who relentlessly continued her societal work and represented the United Nations as the chairwoman of the human rights council, even after becoming a widow. She was a woman of purpose, who definitely believed in the beauty of her dreams. 

We cannot all be First Ladies of the United States or alike, but we can all decide to be the First Ladies (or Gentlemen) of our own, personal lives. Endurance is individual, but it can be trained. It is possible to improve, and to push your personal limits, little by little, every day. 

It is a question of will, and energy. Your body is capable of anything, just as long as you let your mind grow strong and allow your spirit to take charge of your life. 

Write a list of your 10 biggest fears. You don´t have to show it to anyone, unless you want to. What is on the list? Is there a chance of you facing at least one of these fears? With facing a fear I definitely do not mean to take any vagabond risks, or being stupid. I am just stating that by facing some of our biggest fears we can actually remove boundaries and start enjoying life a little more. 

This is at least how it has worked for me personally. 

As a child I was afraid of the dark (as many of us are). I had to fall asleep with a night lamp, and I always checked beneath my bed, and only after realizing there were no ghosts or anything alike, was I able to fall asleep. 

Thereafter, I have faced my irrational fear of the dark in many ways, one of which has been to dive in the night, in tropical waters. It was a very exciting experience, but of course I would never have done it without guidance from, and being accompanied by, my dive master. Diving is a technical sport, requiring more than will and energy. 

Another time, snorkeling with a friend at the islands of Phi-Phi in Thailand, I swam a bit further from the shore. I was photographing the most amazing fishes with my cheap underwater camera, and enjoyed the crystal clear water, as I suddenly saw a shark a few meters ahead of me. My heart beat rate suddenly probably at least tripled; it was such an exciting moment. I was not capable of doing anything but looking at the shark gliding through the water, and then disappearing. 

In only a few seconds of time, which at the moment felt longer, many kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. My first thought was to swim after the shark to find out if I could see more of them. I knew I had been lucky to see the shark, since a dive master at the local PADI center later on told me that sharks usually avoid people for several reasons. My second thought was to swim back to my friend and tell him so that we could swim back together. I decided to swim back, but when I told my friend he was not at all enthusiastic about going on a shark-exploration-journey, and at that point I felt a bit awkward deciding not to swim out again on my own. 

Still not 100 % certain of the type of the shark, but I guess it was a black tip reef shark. It was about two meters long, although everything looks bigger in water. I am not going to start explaining every single detail about sharks, because the truth is that I do not know everything about sharks. I just know that sharks actually usually avoid people. I think I would too if I were a shark. In fact, sharks can get infected by people touching them. According to the Shark Project 

(, at least 73 million sharks get killed by human beings every year, only because of their fins. And how many sharks kill people annually? Not many. 

I have had other natural encounters with exotic animals on my trips and in my home country as well. Never have the animals harmed me. 

Once in Siem Reap, Cambodia, after hours of walking around temples, I sat down on a stone beneath some trees to rest for a while, and to protect myself from the blazing sun. Suddenly, I heard a rustle from the tree above me, and a large green snake fell down on the ground. Taken by surprise, as it happened so fast, I just looked at the snake slithering in the opposite direction. You might guess that I did not sit there for much longer. In fact, I stood up and walked into the temple as soon as the snake had disappeared. A local man, selling souvenirs, tried to assure me about the snake´s innocence as soon as I had explained to him what it looked like. “It is not poisonous”, he said to me, and told me the snake´s name in the local language Khmer. Unfortunately I did not note the name and have forgotten it. But I will definitely remember the appearance of this particular snake, for the rest of my life. 

Having faced my (irrational) fears in many ways, sometimes by accident (like in the previously mentioned examples), but also through careful planning. 

If you are ready to face some of your fears, please remember to keep in mind at least the following things: 

1) Please do not do anything stupid. Be responsible in, and for, your actions. 

2) Only face your fears when you feel you are ready for it. 

3) Don´t let you get forced into anything (by yourself or by anyone else). 

4) Listen to your mind and to your body. How does it make you feel? Your intuition will tell you, so be careful in listening to your inner guidance. 

5) Remember that fear is energy. If you manage to turn your fear into positive energy, you may be richly rewarded. If not in monetary terms, at least in terms of growing as an individual.

“With hope you gain courage. With courage you gain confidence, and with confidence there are no limits to what you can do” (Unknown).







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