It was shortly after New Year’s Day, nine long years ago, that I got the talk. The divorced guys know the talk. It’s always some variation on “I love you, but I am not in love with you.”
I was thirty-nine, and terrified.
After the customary period of moping around, I realized that, at some point, I was going to get over her betrayal. Realizing the inevitability of overcoming gave me the power to face the challenges every day brought, and every day brought some. Her lawyer tried to humiliate me. Her family spread horrible rumors about me. I lost most of my friends. I kept it together because I knew, someday, I’d have forgotten her.
While my ex-wife tried to destroy me, she actually gave me the greatest gift that anyone could ever give me. She gave me the template to overcome any obstacle.
Most of us have reasonable fears. Fear keeps us alive and out of trouble. Some of our fears aren’t reasonable. These sorts of fears keep us in bad relationships, they keep us from growing. Unreasonable fears keep you from being the man you were born to become.
If you are afraid of something, ask yourself why. Often the reason will be nebulous and ill-defined. Ask yourself what is the worst consequence of your fear.
I used to be afraid of heights. I also used to be a roofer. My fear of heights motivated me to finish school and get a real job; but in the interim, it also kept me from becoming the best roofer I could have been.
After my divorce, I went skydiving. That fear was not entirely unreasonable. A fear of great heights is legitimate.
It’s possible I could have died, when I left the plane. If I’d have died, then I’d have done so boldly facing my greatest fear. I didn’t die. I twisted my ankle, and it was fine a week later. In return, I have the knowledge that I overcame.
Every man’s imperative is to become his best self. If fear is impeding your progress toward this destination, then do what you’re afraid of.