Ever since I was young I have loved trains.
But it has not been an easy path to being able to stand on a platform & wait for my train to arrive.
My recent trip to the USA reminded me of a hard lesson I had to learn.
Let me explain …
Whenever I visit a new country I am fascinated by the size, shapes & sounds of the locomotives & the stock they pull.
Arriving on the platform at Santa Clara CalTrain station, the first thing I experienced was the clang of the bell & blast of the horn as an express rumbled through the platform.
This brought back vivid memories of when, as a very young boy, I stood by a railway track & an express train unexpectedly roared by. Apparently I went white.
After this ecperience I was afraid of trains, the very things that fascinated me, until I was in my early teens.
It is amazing how one bad or unexpected experience can mess up our life for so long.
I am reminded of this is everytime I work with people to overcome their fears. Sometimes the source of their fear is known or can be remembered; sometimes not.
What is certain is that somewhere along the way that fear has been learnt: we are not born with our fears.
I am so pleased that I managed to overcome my fear of ‘trains at speed.’
I can’t remember exactly how I managed it but I’m sure that I stood gradually closer & closer as they came storming through stations, eventually being able to stand on the platform of the passing train.
I don’t think I came to enjoy it, but it certainly didn’t hold me in bondage any longer.
Experiencing this San Francisco to San Jose CalTrain thundering through Santa Clara station could have ruined my day, had I not spent time confronting & overcoming my fear (in my case, earlier in life).
Instead, I was in awe & it actually increased the excitement of waiting for my train to appear.
When it did, the ride to San Francisco was almost enhanced by knowing, deep down, that what was once a great fear was now something I could enjoy; the experience of my train arriving at the station.
Your fears may be different but their root is the probably the same: a bad or unexpected experience earlier in life.
Spending time overcoming our fears pays dividends for enjoying life.
Unfortunately, facing our fears is the only real way we can overcome them: running away or avoiding them only carves a deeper groove in our brain’s nerve pathways, making it more difficult each time to break free.
Overcoming fears is not easy & requires courage, often some persistence & a desire to conquer.
But it is well worth the effort (& probably sweat & a few tears along the way too).
Take care until next time …