When fear is expected and welcome

“I don't know how else to make a movie except to find some aspect of the experience that I haven't done before,” he says. “Because if I've done it before, I'm fearless, and I don't work well when I'm fearless.”

Steven Spielberg, when interviewed about making the movie Lincoln. Oprah, Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis Talk About ‘Lincoln' (VIDEO)
I think it is hard for many people to realize that fear is a natural part of being innovative. If you do ANYTHING at all, fear is often part of that. 
Every time we start a Flat Classroom project, every time I get ready to get in front of an audience, really, even, every time I get up to meet my day and kiss my husband and kids goodbye, there is an element of fear in my life. 
But fear can't and shouldn't paralyze us. The existence of fear isn't what cripples us, it is the preeminence of fear and the resulting paralysis that can cause us to be unable to function.
Many don't collaborate globally because they are afraid. Others are too afraid of losing their job to do anything risky and innovative. 
Most of what you fear never happens:

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”Winston Churchill


Try to think back – what were you worried about last year… last week… ten years a go. Can you? Do you remember?

It is not that you fear, it is WHAT you do with that fear that is the issue. 

It is not that our school board is AFRAID, it is if they allow that fear to cause them to make bad decisions in the hopes that anything is better than what is happening today.

People are afraid of the bogey man on the Internet when, in reality, kids are more at risk from the person that picks them up from school each day than from some random stranger they encounter on the net. Kids who engage in at risk behavior offline, engage in at risk behavior online.


Fear is real. We all experience it. It can guide and help us, but we not let its presence take over, overwhelm us and choke out our ability to function and make it in the world. 

I find great comfort in the fact that a great filmmaker like Steven Spielberg experiences fear just like the rest of us. But look at WHY he fears.

He fears because he is innovative and in uncomfortable territory.

May I never be a filing cabinet teacher. Some teachers teach the same year 30 times in their career – never leaving the plans and never changing course. Others teach 30 different years — always innovating and trying new things.

Fear is part of innovating – it is also part of playing on the interstate. One is a healthy fear that comes with trying something new, another is a fear that comes with trying something stupid. Wise people learn to discern the difference.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
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