Not bike related, but it's the last thing I wrote, since we're sharing:
Fear. Do you fear? Are you afraid? Most of us would be quick to answer yes. Fear is the bread and butter of our society, we function on high anxiety, stress and fear, and it’s a constant bombardment. From very early on we are taught to fear, it’s used as a control mechanism, Santa Claus is not just a jolly fat may with presents, he can keep little Johnny from getting what he wants if he doesn’t behave. All through your childhood, fear of punishment helps keep you in line and fear of rejection of your peers will help keep you within the confines of social norms as you develop into a young adult, we call it “peer pressure”. The fear of rejection, of not fitting in will keep you sailing the calm seas of mediocrity for as long as you like. Even in your adult life if you choose, and most do, you’ll feel this “pressure” to be one of the heard. It’s not a bad thing per se, herds offer protection and it’s easier and safer to go along with things than to set out on your own. Not everyone is cut out for the loner maverick type, not saying that we could all be a little more cowboy and a little less Little House on the Prairie though, we can and should. Societal pressure is one thing and that we have the media bombardment that occurs every day on your television screen that keeps broadcasting the next batch of things to be afraid of.. There’s always something to be afraid of according to the news. Lets take the various “epidemics” that have graced the television screens as of late: Hantavirus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Ecoli, and now radiation from Japan. Are there bodies in the street? Where are the people staggering in the street afflicted from all these horrible plagues to rival the black death? Well, it never happened did it? Not that people did not get worked up, become afraid, lose sleep and productivity, buy facemasks and iodine pills to stave off the latest doom projected from your television screen. You let fear control you. I went mountain biking as I often do on the day the earthquakes in Japan hit and people told me there was a Tsunami warning. Really? I think the peak I was on was over 2000 feet above sea level, that’s have to be some big ass wave to even come close to flooding the 818. Of course the beaches and the surrounding hills were devoid of most people. The day was a beautiful day, after so much rain it was clear and you could see all the way to Long Beach from my mountain perch, I still have the memory of it, a memory that would have been taken away from me if I chose to fear. I don’t have a television, so my general fear level is very low. People I interact with are quick to tell me; “Did you hear about….?” Fear spreads, but I refuse to take part. By simply not watching television, I have removed the main fear conduit from my life, it’s that easy, and I have way more free time to do constructive things with my life. A bonus. A simple look at the facts would have put anyone at ease: will a 2500 foot wave come to our shore? Doubtful. But no, people freaked out as usual and ran around like chickens whit their heads cut off. Mass hysteria has plagued us for decades, despite all our technological advances and the light speed in which information can travel now; we still act like a bunch of scared dumb shits. In fact I’d wager to say that the ease and speed that information travels makes the possibility of mass fear and even mass hysteria a more regular occurrence. It’s like the spreading of gossip, which happens. But with cell phones and the Internet, any sort of information no matter how ridiculous or without merit it is will still travel. Enough of that already. I challenge you to do something that has been conditioned out of you since birth; I challenge you to think for yourself. Fuck the rules. Who’s’ in control of your life anyway? You? Or the 10 O’ Clock News? Are you ready for 2012? Like the year 2000? What happened? Fucking nothing. The media just keeps piling the fear on higher and deeper and that helps keep people in check, keeps them off center, keeps them busy being afraid. Not only to you have these external forces working against you, but you have your own internal forces that keep you from making important decisions that can greatly affect your life. Are you afraid of rejection? Do you worry if what you do or say will be accepted by others? Fear, it’s powerful. A means of control. Fear of this nature will keep you from taking chances, from doing things that others may find difficult or unusual. People spend way too much time and energy being worried about what other people think. I had a friend of mine ask me if I looked at my internet comments about my shop, I said no, I did not. He said that I should. And why? Comments left on the web have as much validity as a comment shouted at you from a passing car, they are meaningless. Do I fear that these phantom people will somehow undo my hard work? No. My friend who lives on the internet thought it was of grave concern, I could give two shits. I’m not afraid; these web zombies cannot control me for I have no fear of their comments. But my friend was obviously controlled by the influence of others, and not even friends or acquaintances, but complete strangers. If that is not enough, the fear of rejection will keep people buying clothes they can’t afford and driving cars that are way out of their budget all in the quest to be accepted. Having the new car (that you don’t own) the latest cell phone (that you can’t afford nor need) all in a fruitless quest to impress others that don’t even know you. How chicken-shit can you be? Are you so afraid of not being accepted that you’ll live from paycheck to paycheck in a desperate gamble to impress your co-workers with your new bullshit car? If one spent half the time they spent checking their fear of rejection, they’d actually be somewhere in their life.
This brings us to the next point: fear of failure. This is the big one for it what really keeps all people from realizing their true potential. Few people can overcome this huge hurdle. The point is that the anticipation of the hurdle is much greater than the hurdle itself. You know Dr. Seuss? Of course you do, he got his first book rejected over 20 times before finally being published. He was not afraid to fail. Most people don’t even try because the fear of failure is so great. What happens if you do fail? Do you explode? Or do birds come from the sky and pluck your eyeballs from their sockets? No. You may lose some time and some money but if you see failure as a way to begin again smarter, then at most that’s all you lost. The first step towards this end is to diminish the value of the self or to turn your ego down a few notches. You must tell yourself that yes you will try and do things and many of those things will not be successful and some people will scorn you for trying and make sport of your efforts. Keeping in mind that your efforts have no great effect upon the world unless you succeed and people’s opinions are secondary to the opinion of one’s self. You may not be great, most people aren’t but you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you were unwilling to try just because the road is hard or you don’t get approval for your actions. The vast majority of us are not that important, this bothers some people and they can’t stand to see someone try and be something. So they project their fear of failure on to the would be achiever to crush their hopes and dreams as they have done for themselves. Once you realize that you most likely don’t figure in to the world any more than anyone else but you’re going to try to make a difference anyway, then you have curbed the Ego, you have control of yourself. The great movers and shakers in this world did not get to where they were today by worrying if they had approval or not, or if they had good scores on YELP, or lots of “friends” on face book, they kept their eye on the prize. In my own personal experience I have done things and worked hard not to be deterred to keep them going, for example: My Choppercabras bicycle rides. The first Halloween ride was an impromptu affair with 8 riders, the next one I made 2500 fliers and 12 people showed up, the next one I had 70 people, the next 120, and so on now after 10 years I’d say that in the LA area it has become an institution of sorts. Can anyone talk shit? Hell no. Was I worried about being rejected? Every time I saw a flier tossed on the ground was a rejection but still I went on and as you may have seen in older issues of this zine, these bicycle rides are a success because I chose not to be afraid. Yes you will have shortcomings, yes, you will fail but if allow your fear to master you then you are a slave to yourself. Only the ones that conquer their fears will be able to rise above and make a difference in this world, it’s up to you.
How do you master your fear? One day long ago a few friends and me were messing around with fire works. One of them flew off course and went down a gully and started a small brush fire. It was nighttime. One of my friends just jumped down there and stomped it out while I was setting back worrying about large rocks and landing on a metal pole or falling, he just handled it. From that point on I decided that I did not want to be afraid, that I would become the master of my fear. Since then, I’ve gone on to do a great many things that have tested my level of fear, that have raised it. I took that one kernel and made it grow into a great willingness to face any fear, to stare into the face of adversity, to try no matter what. Really, what is the worst thing that can happen? Training to resist fear is like training for a marathon. At first you suffer greatly, you feel like you want to die, you want to quit, but no, you keep going. After some time you become stronger and faster, better equipped for adversity. All of this takes a long time to prepare for; it won’t happen overnight, you just have to keep working at it like you would anything like restoring a classic car or landscaping your front yard. It’s all little pieces of the puzzle that you slowly pout together, as it comes together, the pieces fit into place quicker and with more certainty. Solve the puzzle of your life, conquer your fear and rise to the great potential that everyone has in them. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
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05.22.11 - 8:37 pm