A few years ago we traveled to Thailand with friends. We stayed at this tiny resort, small huts on the beach, no cars, not much to do but lie on the beach and play in the water. After a few days I began to notice something. When I would go out into the water with my friend Seth, he would constantly change position. I would move one way and then he would. After further observation I noticed a pattern, he would always position himself between me and the shore. Even further observation led to the awareness that it wasn’t just me- he would do it with everyone- his wife, my husband, strangers, small children.
Can you guess why?
Bonus points for anyone who correctly guessed that a childhood trauma involving the movie Jaws had resulted in a significant shark phobia. This often wasn’t an issue as Seth lived in the midwest where sharks were rarely sighted. However, in Thailand there was the possibility of sharks. Thus Seth’s solution was simple. As long as there was someone further out in the water the shark would attack that person first, giving him adequate time to swim to shore. He didn’t need to be the fastest swimmer- he just needed to be a bit faster than the slowest swimmer. He felt a bit bad (or at least expressed some remorse) that he was willing to sacrifice us, his loved ones, to the man eating shark- but the only other option was to stay on the beach.
Moral of the story? If there is something you are afraid to try- remember you don’t have to be the best- you just have to be a bit better than the worst person.
If you are swimming in shark infested waters and you see an early 40’s guy, fair skin, shaved head with a Chicago accent who keeps positioning himself between you and the shore- you’re bait. Watch out.
What are you afraid of?
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