What Could Have Been

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. Source: Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo”

 One of my all-time favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. And my favorite character in that movie is Cowardly Lion. I love the scene where The Wizard shares wisdom about courage and fear with Cowardly Lion.

As mortal living beings, it is natural for us to associate fearfulness with weakness. As The Wizard explains, courage does not mean a lack of fear — courage means going forward and doing what we need to do despite our fears.

Every single offshore fishing trip on The Great Gab-Sea begins with a passenger safety meeting in ‘command central ‘(boat cockpit).  It goes without saying that there is some risk in offshore excursions, thus the need for safety mandates. The potential risks in offshore fishing cannot be ignored or denied, but do not overshadow the fun and fellowship experience.  Obviously, the only way to avoid possible risks is simply to not go offshore.

Daily, I am reminded of the dangers associated with the deliveries made by our drivers with Hackbarth Delivery Service, the transportation company my wife and I own. Every single day they encounter risk by the existence of possible hazards along the highways they travel.

Hence, the conundrum in confidently taking risks in order to provide service to our customers, which includes the deliveries of life-saving medical equipment and products. The quandary: accept the risks, or do not take risks  . . . to do or not to do . . .  to live or not to live.

Even sheltered by  the most stringent protection, life is uncertain, with myriad unknown possibilities for catastrophe on all levels.

Fear. We all encounter and experience fear. Some of our anxieties may be related to past negative experiences. At this late age, I still have some fear of heights. And yes, it is related to an injury I suffered due to falling off a ladder many years ago. I have worked diligently in combatting this fear by acting in opposition to natural instincts. For me, it remains a work-in-progress.

Fears abound. The Internet provides a plethora of sites dedicated to the subject of fear and anxiety.  In our modern world, there is a name for just about any apprehension that you can imagine. My fear of heights is called ‘acrophobia.’ Have you heard of astraphobia, glossophobia or aquaphobia? How about ergophobia, the fear of work? I know some folks, (identities left out to protect the guilty), who have embraced ‘ergophobia’ full-time. How about you? What is your fear?

As powerful as fears can be, it is not the decisions we make related to potential dangerous events that we will regret later in life. Worries related to physical injury are often obvious and justified.  It is the fears we encounter, that do not expose us to physical injury, that may be life-changing.

The fear of failure

The fear of being embarrassed

The fear of not winning

The fear of not achieving our goal

The fear of what others might say

The fear of not being accepted

The fear of not being loved

The fear of being alone

The fear of loss of income

The fear of poverty

The fear of being successful

Regrets. I do have them. Not surprising at this late stage in my life.  Some of these regrets  I  correctly attribute to decisions in not taking action that could have produced a positive outcome.Why? Because I allowed fear to be the controlling factor.  What I know now is an important truth: A non-decision is a decision.  Unfortunately, it is a decision that may fill us with much remorse later in life.

‘What could have been.’  ‘What I might have accomplished.’  ‘What I might have contributed.’  ‘What I could have become.’ Have you been here? Are you here now? Is fear still present? It is not too late.

Success is being and becoming the best at what I am meant to be and do in life.

 ‘Becoming’ represents all the important decisions I will make today. ‘Becoming’ is a huge step in the direction of my successful life.

Today, despite my fears, I will . . .