Ninja tuck jumps.
They scared me. They scared me because they are ridiculous looking. You see, a ninja tuck jump is an exercise dictating the participant jump in the air and try to touch one’s knees to one’s chest. It’s not a a move one sees a lot of other people doing in the middle of the YMCA gym.
And when you factor in that the one observing the YMCA gym is older than most other people there… and maybe not quite as physically fit… well, that’s a scenario breeding some self-consciousness.
I’m on a quest to improve my jumping skills so that I may dunk a basketball. I’m a 43-year old man who has never dunked a basketball before. In order to achieve this odd goal, I’m going to have to train my body to jump well. So I have an training program that calls for me to execute some strange looking moves–like ninja tuck jumps.
So last week, I was the older, rounder guy standing in the middle of the YMCA exercise room doing ninja tuck jumps. To one side of me was a young lady who could likely deadlift two of me. To the other side was a guy who had been planking for three minutes. I’m a middle-ager jumping like a ninja… and feeling just fine about it.
Subconsciously, my fear dissipated. It vanished with my third or fourth less-than-flawless ninja tuck. Action and resolve killed that fear.
There are certainly greater fears in life than the fear of looking silly in the gym. I hope you realize this story is an allegory about how we keep ourselves inactive when we refuse to take action because of fear–and then how we face down fear when we do take action. Fear is a construct. And just as we construct it, we can also demolish it when we move in spite of it.
This is not a new or novel idea. We’ve been telling one another this thought for centuries. So if my allegory isn’t quite hitting home yet, perhaps one of these smart quotes from history will help to move us through the fears that would otherwise keep us down.
“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”— Louis E. BooneLouis was an author specializing in the fields of business and economics. This quote suggests that perhaps the only worthwhile fear is that of having never tried.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”— Dale CarnegieDale developed courses in self-improvement, sales, and interpersonal skills. He wrote the well-known How to Win Friends and Influence People.
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa ParksYou know who Rosa Parks is: a queen of resolve.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” — Jack CanfieldJack is an author and motivational speaker–probably most known for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” –Nelson MandelaOppressed, imprisoned, and perpetually threatened, Nelson likely knew a thing or two about fear.
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”’ — Ralph Waldo EmersonRWE was an American transcendentalist poet and master of ninja tuck jumps–because he refused NOT to do them.
“To overcome fear, here’s all you have to do: realize the fear is there, and do the action you fear anyway.” — Peter McWilliamsPeter was a self-help author.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus AureliusMarcus Aurelius: the enlightened emperor (121-181CE)
“Fear has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” — Zig ZiglarZig was a well-regarded salesman, speaker, and author.
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” — Rudyard KiplingRudyard wrote The Jungle Book amongst many other books, short stories and essays.
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
AND FDR with perhaps the greatest known fear quote of our time: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt