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Fear Not, Fly On

I was talking to someone recently who commented that she used to love sitting in the bulkhead seats on airplanes, but she didn’t choose those seats anymore because she read a book about where to sit on an airplane so you’re more likely to survive a crash, and apparently the bulkhead seat isn’t the “safest.” I said that it sounded like a depressing book to read. And I thought (though I didn’t say it out loud) that it sounded like a depressing way to live your life. It also reminded me of a woman I know who loved a book called “The Gift of Fear.” She refused to fly at all.

My gift to you, as we kick off the holiday season, is this humble opinion: Fear is not a gift. It is a curse.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever be afraid. Courage, it’s said, is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to carry on despite it. And rejecting fear doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself in (or from) objectively dangerous situations. But you can be safe without being afraid.

If you allow fear to be your guiding principle, it will lead you to make bad decisions and prevent you from enjoying your life. It’s far better for your decisions to reflect your hopes, not your fears. And it’s far better to be sitting comfortably in the bulkhead row on a 10-hour flight than cramped in the back.

Instead of focusing your mental energy on your fears, be thankful for everything you have, every moment you have it – including your freedom to get on an airplane. If you’re thinking about a plane crash every time you contemplate going anywhere, your world will be very small indeed.

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