November 17, 2018
Fear of clicking a link, talking to people, and reading books
As an extremely shy, timid, and fearful child, I've spent my whole life trying to get over that. It's a scary world out there, and I quite literally hid behind my mother's skirt. She laughed at it, and I even came to realize that it was going to hold me back when it was mentioned in my 2nd grade report card. So I looked to people who to me seemed to have no fear.
Of course the people who could do dangerous things, like actually talking to a stranger out in public, were kinda crazy. They were risk-takers, and some of them went too far. So as I grew up I tried to balance risk-taking with caution. The types of brave things that I did wouldn't leave me falling to my death, they were just talking to people, and reading books. I'd like to think that I became a "man with no fear!" Well, less of it.
When I started teaching graphic design, I saw a lot of fear. There were people who were literally shaking and crying just sitting there in class. And there were people who were so afraid of touching a computer that I had to learn to encourage, to show them that other people around them were doing it. If they couldn't conquer their fear, I knew that I had to let them go. Fear protects us, and sadly it often limits us.
I like thinking of myself as fearless. I have fearlessly read many books, including ones that many people wouldn't even consider touching, or opening. I have talked with many people, some of which were downright scary. And all of this has reminded that this is who I wanted to grow up to be, and also that I understand fear.
When I was a kid, I would be amazed at the fearless things that people could do, which to them was absolutely nothing. I had a friend in grade school who could actually say "hello" to complete strangers out in public. To him, it was nothing, to me it was an act of bravery that I wanted to be able to do someday.
It really wasn't until very recently that I discovered how many people are fearful of clicking on links on the web. And I understand. Clicking on a link from a spam email will probably take you to a very dark place. I've done it, just to do it, and there's some awful stuff out there. The world has always had awful stuff, dark alleys, places that it's wise to stay away from. But the world has some wonderful places, as does the web. And you get there exactly the same way: by being brave enough to click a link.
If you clicked this link, I'm proud of you. Hopefully you saw that it might be interesting, and possibly you know who I am. And if you're saying, "So what? What's the big deal?" you may never understand the perfectly natural fear that people have of doing that.
To me, there's just too much of the world to see without being overly fearful. I've read books from "To Kill a Mockingbird" to "Mein Kampf". I've swum in the ocean with dolphins. I've even, believe it or not, eaten a taco from "Taco Bell". I click on links all of the time, too. Fear is not False Evidence Appearing Real, it's a normal emotion that protects you from bad things. But as I learned as a kid, that emotion can protect you from good things, too. And there are just too many good things out there for me to be overly fearful.
Posted by Brad Hall