9 Sep Why fear is the biggest idea killer.

 Posted in Creativity & Innovation, Latest

Last week I was confronted with a terrifying choice.

I was in New Zealand with my 12 year-old daughter and, having spent three days skiing and snowboarding, we decided to try another action sport. Her idea was hang gliding. #@*#!!!

Now, I can tell you that dangling from aluminium tubing and sailcloth 3,500 feet in the air is a scary idea to start with. Me doing it, that’s one thing, but my child harnessed to this contraption fires up another level of anxiety altogether.

It was made worse by the fact that an experienced competitive hang gliding pilot had been killed the previous day. And the legal waiver I was required to sign was headlined “Dumb ways to die” and had no less than seven mentions of DEATH.

What to do?

I’d barely slept the night before with images of my child plummeting from the sky running like looped video through my brain. On the other hand, she slept like a log and woke up with, “Dad, I’m so psyched, I can’t wait to fly”.

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Charged by her exuberance I resolved to do as the bumper stick says… “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” You might think it completely idiotic parenting but here’s why I got to that point.

Fear kills so many wild ideas and ambitious plans. It’s so often the enemy of creativity, adventure and exploration. And the older we get, the more often fear gets the better of us. As Mark Twain wrote, “the worst things in my life never actually happened.”

So now we have indelible memories (and Go Pro video) of us flying between snow-capped peaks over the emerald green of Lake Wakatipu. My face a study of concentration, hers beaming with wide-eyed exhilaration.

My hope is that she will always be able to face down her fears. Her hope is that I never get boring.

This piece was written for the October issue of Campaign Asia-Pacific.  And you, of course.

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