On a recent early morning flight, I blurrily made my way to the first place that served the magic morning elixir I’ve come to depend on to help me jump start my day. I wasn’t the only one. The line was snaking out of the stall with other blurry eyed passengers looking for the same.
As I yawned, I contemplated how long it might be before caffeine would hit my system. I glanced over and spotted two solitary iPads standing just to the left of us with credit card swipers attached. Is that a mobile ordering option, my tired brain wondered. I looked to my fellow line members. I looked back to the iPads. I looked back to my line members and I made a decision.
Seeing the quickest route to faster coffee, I stepped out of line, which by that point had begun to grow behind me. I slowly made my way toward the screens, wary of someone yelling at me to get back in my place. The screen beckoned me to touch it. I did and like magic, my order was submitted and coffee was in hand before the next person in line was even close to the front.
What is it about us as humans that we are so fearful of stepping out of the line, away from the crowd of what everyone else is doing, to try something new? Or was everyone just asleep? Why was I the only one that could see a different, faster path? Or did I just have more courage (or more desperation for coffee) than everyone else? Probably a combination of the two, but it got me thinking as I slowly sipped my coffee in the terminal.
More often than not, I get in line with everyone else, following what the majority is doing. There’s less thinking involved and there’s certainly less fear (safety in numbers and all). So that begs the question – what was there to be fearful of? I mean, certainly, no one in that line was scared that the iPads were going to explode upon fingers touching it, were they?
We stay in line with the status quo because we fear that we are going to be judged for doing something different. We fear that we are doing something we’re not supposed to be doing. We fear doing something all wrong. We fear standing out. We fear failure. Fear is scary because it asks us to step out of line, to stand alone, and to do something everyone else isn’t doing. Fear wants us to risk. Fear wants us to change. Fear wants us to be uncomfortable. Fear wants us to DO SOMETHING. And the outcome could either be awesome (faster coffee) or terrible (exploding iPad).
What’s fear asking you to do today?