11/12…The fear of a fearful life…(Found in Master Yoda)

13 11 2012

Lyon Keating:  Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Orion Kraus (or who I like to envision in my mind as Buzz Lightyear):

For the past year, the ‘signature’ in my emails has been a quote from Helen Keller saying, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” After some research, I’ve found that the quote needs some context. What she actually said was, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” While the original quote is easy to plaster on inspirational Hallmark cards, what Helen Keller is actually saying is far more interesting and provocative. Shall our perception of fear and risk overpower our will, or desires, or our dreams. No matter what we decide to do, there is inherent risk involved. In my adventures around the world, I have very consciously avoided death and deadly situations. But what I’ve found is that these occasions are very few and far between and can be highly diminished by taking some pretty obvious precautions. So, besides taking a stroll down Kandahar’s main street with a burning Koran in your hand, most situations that occur do not have much danger in them. They have perceived risk, they have what your friends, your family, society or the media tell you will be dangerous, but it is imagined. It is superstition.

So, where does this superstition come from? How does it manifest itself? I’ve already mentioned the media, but we could add government campaigns to scare instead of educate. With family and friends, much of it comes from a place of love and caring for your well being. Sometimes, it’s self sabotage or sometimes it derives from jealousy, but sometimes it’s…well, let me just show you.

Before I left on my trip, I posted something on Lonely Planet’s Thorn tree asking for help locating horses in Mexico. These are some of the responses I received.

“You’re going to ride through 100 degree heat on average on a busy highways with no shoulders. Gee, sounds like fun. Can’t wait until you get to the capitals. Have you ever been to this region?”

“Anyone that even believes this OP is an even bigger fool than me, and that’s saying alot.”

“Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in months.”

“More human residue in the barnyard of broken dreams.”

I think this guy took the cake though. He actually found my blog, read the story, and took time out of his obviously busy day to write, “Wow, you really are a complete douchebag….A jewish rich kid who thinks he knows something about the world. You can’t escape being a shithead and all your bad karma by traveling the world…… it will all catch up to you. You are a total faker…. but go ahead and satiate yourself with your bullshit!!!! Oh how the ignorant pawns love it!!! You are the number one pawn among pawns…..” End quote.

As I was writing these words, my father serendipitously sent me a message with some ideas by Socrates and Plato. “Human existence is that men and women can become what they all really long to be, but most fall short because they fear that what they truly long for is illusory.” For years, I have said that fear is the most poisonous of emotions. Fear of others, fear of self, fear is what stops us from achieving what we have always wanted. What we were meant to achieve. Our fate. This fear blinds us, it weakens us, and it makes us fool ourselves into thinking that what we truly want is impossible or better off forgotten. Anyone that has dealt with anxiety knows that this fear can be physically debilitating. Crippling. Yet, it can be overcome.

How do I know this? I am this! This is why I am riding. This is why this whole trip came about! Read ‘The Story’ section of the blog if you forgot. I set off to prove to myself that I was capable of anything. That our wills form our reality. That the difference between myself and the greatest of men were nothing. And here I am…3000 kilometers south from where I started and a changed man because of it. I have two horses, I have a dog, I have a new love and knowledge of horses, I know more about life, people, politics. I have friends scattered throughout Latin America and the world because of this journey. But what if I had failed?

The idea that anything is impossible is a hard pill to swallow. Amongst my friends, I have debated the point many times. They point out disadvantaged groups, they point to my self-confidence or good family. But what if I had no legs? What if I were abused? What if I were poor or lived in Sudan? I studied Sociology in college and I am all too aware of the statistics involved in who ‘makes it’ and who doesn’t. The world is filled with explanations and excuses for why we are the way that we are. But depending on where you look, the world is also filled with success stories and the 5% who prove the rest of the 95% wrong.

But the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear to step outside your comfort zone, the fear to be different, the fear of letting the assholes from the Thorn Tree have the last laugh, and too many other fears to mention is what keeps us from even starting down our path. But let me tell you something. If you take the leap to follow your dreams, there is NO failure. Even if you don’t reach the objective, the journey will ALWAYS be worth it. The lessons you learn, the people you meet, the adventures you have, THESE are the successes! Life is either a daring adventure…or nothing.




2 responses

13 11 2012

Love this post Ryan, I’ve been saying this exact thing to several others. Not fearing your own potential! Fear destroys any chance of happiness. And your right it is debilitating! lm honestly super excited for the future since Ive adopted this mentality. Both for myself and for my kids. The possibilities are endless and there is so much to experience and grow from. Thanks for the insight, its great hearing from someone who not only feels the passion and potential behind life but chooses not to contain it, challenging others to think differently.

15 11 2012

Great Eileen. I’m glad you enjoyed it. This was an entry that my friend actually wrote but I agree with it completely. It is so nice to really think about why you think and believe the way you do and keep the bar high for others to do the same. It is an easy way to bring more confidence and less fear in the world:)

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