When I was young, I was deathly afraid of going upside down on rides. When I was in 8th grade, my family (including my Nana), went to Disneyland and then Six Flags. Please note that my Nana was 62 then, about 5’2″, extremely small and petite and a chain smoker. Most of my family was extremely excited to ride Space Mountain. While we were waiting in line, I was so scared that it went upside down. So scared, in fact, that I kept asking every attendant along the way if it actually did go upside down. By the fourth time (I was annoying EVERYONE, especially Nana), my Nana said, “If you ask anyone else, we’re going on every scary roller coaster tomorrow at Six Flags…twice.” I wasn’t buying it, so when I asked the next attendant, my Nana looked at me and said, “Ok, Brian. That’s it. No grandson of mine is going to be this afraid of anything.”
The next day, right as we walked into Six Flags, she quickly grabbed me and told everyone we’d be back in a while. She forced me to get on the first roller coaster (The Demon, if I recall correctly). I very reluctantly went. The first words out of my mouth after the ride was over? “Can we do it again, Nana?” The rush I had experienced was far greater and more meaningful to me than any fear could have ever been. As it turned out, this was one of my first and most memorable lessons about how to overcome fear and the benefits of doing so.