Having fun with fear
-the daily adventure-
Have fun by turning the tables on fear
Most of the time we resist or avoid fear and deal with it (courageously or not) only when it is foisted upon us. But what if we went looking for fear? What if we went looking for opportunities for courage? What if we exercised our courage muscles daily?
The Daily Adventure
If you really want to turn the tables on fear, if you want to accelerate the process of turning fear into an ally (instead of the enemy it seems to be), then the “Daily Adventure” was made for you.
Let me give you an example of a Daily Adventure. Afterwards, I will tell you how to design Daily Adventures that are customized for you and your life.
"May I join you for conversation?"
When I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, my favorite Asian restaurant was a seven-minute drive from my home. I would often eat lunch there.
After paying for my “combo chow mein bowl” and placing my chopsticks and condiments onto my serving tray, I would scan all the tables in the restaurant, identifying all the people sitting alone.
For this example, let’s suppose there were six people sitting alone.
Choosing courage: step #1
I then asked myself, “Which of these six people am I most frightened of approaching?” Then, I would take a deep breath and say to myself, “Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I am so scared they will reject me!”
Choosing courage: step #2
Next, I would imagine the five-year-old little Dwight within me and say to him “I can see and feel that you’re frightened. It’s okay to feel frightened. And I really appreciate and admire you for the courage that you’re choosing in approaching this person.” I would do this until I could feel proud of myself for what I was about to do.
Choosing courage: step #3
Then, I would walk up to the person and say, “Hi, my name is Dwight. I eat here often. I thought it would be much more interesting to learn about someone new than to sit by myself. How would you feel about that?”
During 23 different luncheons I approached 23 different people. Eighteen said I could sit with them and five said that I could not.
Choosing courage: step #4
Regardless of the result each time, I got back in touch with the five-year-old Dwight and expressed my appreciation and admiration to him for the choice of courage he had just made. I did this until I felt quite proud of myself.
Stronger courage muscles
After doing this 23 times, it was still fun, but it was no longer a significant choice of courage. Then I upped the ante. I started approaching tables where two or more people were sitting. I did this six times. Three tables said “yes” and three said “no.” There is always another level of fear to play with! Don’t worry. You won’t run out!
Designing your Daily Adventure
Now let’s examine the criteria for designing and following through on a Daily Adventure.
Choose something that you don’t have to do. Don’t choose something that you should do. This is about having fun with your fear.
Choose something that you would like to do if it weren’t for the fear (e.g., talking with new people).
Choose something that stimulates more fear than you are accustomed to taking on, but not so much fear as to terrify you. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard.
Choose something that doesn’t involve any real danger. Don’t be foolhardy.
Remember that courage is very individualized. What courage is for you is not courage for me and vice versa. What courage is for you today may not be courage for you tomorrow. Don’t compare yourself with others (or even with yourself) when choosing your Daily Adventure.
Once you’ve tried a given Daily Adventure a number of times, you will notice less and less fear associated with your action. In order to continue to “exercise your courage muscles,” you will need to maintain a level of stimulated fear that keeps your muscles in good shape. This means you will need to keep changing the adventure.
Ideas for Daily Adventures
Here are just a few examples of other possible Daily Adventures. The possibilities are limited only by your level of creativity and willingness to have fun with fear.
Say “hello” to every second person you pass on the street.
Dress as a beggar and see what you can get.
Put some blinders on your eyes and, using a cane, pretend to be blind for a period of time as you go about the city.
Ask a colleague if you can borrow his or her jacket for the day.
Start a conversation with a person next to you in line.
Call a telephone number randomly and see if you can make a new friend.
Ask an attractive person for directions that you don’t need.
Welcome to your playground!
The world is your playground.
What Daily Adventure might you take on? You could do a similar one every day. Or you could invent a new one each day. The goal is to have fun and excitement with fear!
Honor yourself for the choice of courage to create a Daily Adventure.