Jose Thomas

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Sunday 26th September, 2010



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In today’s world I notice many living in fear. Fear debilitates your life, slowly but surely. When you fear, you are pulling your foot back. Many people live with different forms of it. In my younger years, I was also constantly dogged by it. Around the age of fourteen I realised my number one fear was death, something that I could not handle. The very sight of the hearse that carried the deceased anywhere in the town I was living in, simply frightened me. I was so timid that I didn’t even attempt to go near a cemetery. Even whilst traveling by public transport and passing by a cemetery, I couldn’t look in that direction.
I feared darkness, loneliness and even people, not forgetting the ghost stories. I was simply petrified by the word ‘death’. Then my father passed away suddenly, I could not imagine ‘death had happened in my home’. My fear was aggravated and I was even scared to move from room to room in my own home.

Very soon I began to realise that this fear was getting in my way and I knew I had to do something about it. My fears followed me everywhere, even when I traveled in the early days of my business life. I began to worry about this fear psychosis and worry only aggravated the problem. Most of you worry, don’t you?
It is easy to say, “Don’t worry” but here’s what I did.

Today, people say I’m a maverick, a risk taker, a man with no fear and I am sure you would like to know how I got here. All I did was to take control my mind and decide to face my fears, head on. To overcome my fear of death, I started to drive by a cemetery late in the evening and also showed up at funerals and let me tell you, today, I don’t fear death.

This was not the only fear I had. Another one was getting on board an aero plane. I was simply petrified. My fear bordered Aviophobia. I travelled frequently through the old Cochin Airport, the only airport in my hometown. The run way was built for the Navy to facilitate operations for small wing aero planes and helicopters. However, this was also used by the Government controlled airline, Indian Airlines, to cater to civilian needs. They used to operate small turbo-prop 40 seater aero planes into Cochin. As the demand for seats increased and traffic picked up, Indian Airlines decided to operate Boeing 737 Jets in and out of this airport. I remember once a Turbo-prop over shot the run way because it could not stop within the short run way. So, can you imagine how a Boeing Jet would be able to handle this situation?

This runway was only 5500 feet in length and that too, a uni-directional air field. Only specialised senior pilots were permitted to operate into this airport on the Boeing’s. On my first flight from Bombay to Cochin I was amazed that this Jet could land and stop safely within this run way length.

Those days I flew frequently on business to various parts of the country. I had to reconcile to boarding the Boeing. I learned that these Boeings were operated only by senior most pilots who were specifically trained for short run way operations. Every time I boarded, fear symptoms would set in - my hands went cold, I broke out in a sweat and so on.

However I could not avoid travelling due to my business commitments. As the first step, to get over this fear, I deliberately made friends with the senior pilots. They put me at ease by showing me around the cockpit. Most of them have gone out of the way to help me. I knew this was putting extra pressure on friends and this was not a long term solution.

Taking this challenge head on, guess what I did? I decided to become a pilot. I joined a flying school in New Jersey attached to an air field named Teterboro. No student pilot will ever think of signing up to train in this air field because this airport is surrounded by 3 major airports, John F Kennedy, Newark International airport and LaGuardia Airport. The commercial traffic was heavy and the skies were congested. Generally students would go to Florida or Texas to train as those air fields were less crowded But I decided on Teterboro because, I wanted to learn the hard way and face challenges that I would not face in Texas or Florida. When I went up in the sky in this small training aero plane I could see the big, wide bodied jumbo jets flying past me. It was tough training.
I began flying, clocked my hours and today, not only have I put this fear behind me, but have also gained reasonable knowledge in the different aspects of flying. Friends, by the way, let me tell you, the safest way to travel is by air!

Another fear I had, was of water. I could not even think of dipping my feet in the ocean – I was frightened of the waves, lonely seas, and the depth of the water. I knew this fear was holding me back in many ways. So I decided to obtain a license to master a yacht. I went to New York, purchased a Yacht, went out to the sea, got trained and rooted the fear out. Today, I go out on the open seas on my yacht, Choice Queen, sometimes even in rough weather and I can confidently say that I can face the sea with no fear.

If you have a fear and do nothing about it but worry, it’s not going to do any good. Instead it will only hold you back. To be in business or any profession, you cannot be afraid or carry fear. Today, the businesses I manage have major risks associated with it and I am able to handle it simply because I have trained myself to face fear - head on. Don’t allow fear to reside in your minds and don’t worry because most worries are baseless. Identify your fear, make a decision to take control of it and face it –head on and you’ll be a winner. Good luck!!

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Sir, i am an old employee of choice . i worked in choice house for 1 year , that time i am not got oppurtuntity to speak with you . i am also having almost same kind of fears within myself , but after reading this blog i got a courage to face the things bravely . thanks for your thoughts . Regards R.Vijayakumar
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