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The Devil’s Crossroads and the Edge of Fear

Near the town of Greenwood in the state of Mississippi, there’s a place called the Devil’s Crossroads. It’s supposedly the exact spot where, sometime around 1935, the blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for musical genius. It really isn’t much of a sight. You’d probably miss it if you weren’t looking for it. But the crossroads holds special significance for me. Awhile back I spent three days in Greenwood and my experiences there have forever changed the course of my life. (I’ll save the details of the trip for another blog. Hint: I survived a fire.)

Looking back I now realize that the Crossroads represents the intersection of two opposing approaches to life. Coming into town I traveled the road where fear ruled my soul. I played it safe and I shied away from new or unfamiliar experiences. I didn’t trust myself to deal effectively with the curveballs that life was throwing my way.

After my fiery adventures I left town a different person. I took the alternate route where confidence meets fear and turns it into excitement. I found the courage to transform the situations I had previously viewed as uncomfortable or dangerous into opportunities for growth.

My experiences in Greenwood helped me to realize how we should approach life. Every day is a crossroads and each morning we have a choice. We can either embrace life or hide from it. It’s a decision which you may be unaware of making. I can tell you from experience that the more you embrace life, the more opportunities will arrive at your doorstep.

The truth of the matter is that anything can happen to us at any time. The potential risks are never going to go away. But what we need to get rid of is our fear. To do this we must jump into an unfamiliar situation. It’ll be scary so I suggest starting with something slighlty uncomfortable. By attempting something new and then succeeding, you’ll prove to yourself that you have what it takes to overcome adversity. After that initial experience, don’t stop; move on to something more challenging.

You can conquer your fear. There are three things that will help you to make it happen:

1) be aware of your surroundings
2) trust your instincts
3) don’t get down on yourself

Write down these tips and post them where you’ll see them often. I keep them on a sticky note which I take with me wherever I go.

I can’t promise that you’ll succeed at every challenge. When a setback occurs remember to vigorously practive tip #3. Get back up, brush yourself off, and when you’re ready try again. No need chastise yourself. No need to fear. Just don’t give up. Life is an adventure and our job is to live it up.