The message I would like for you all to take home is the importance of facing your fears.
Fears can often feel like they define who we are. This cannot be further from the truth. We are defined by how we deal with them.
I believe the best way to think about our fear is to compare it to a roller coaster. The towering structure of twisted metal beams seems anything but pleasant, however, only after you take that step forward and buckle in for the ride do you learn that it is not as scary as you once thought. It is actually manageable, maybe even enjoyable. Once you get off, you can step back and look at the ride, proud at what you conquered. You can say to yourself “I have done that”.
Backing down is the wrong way to go. The instant relief of not doing, that “dodging a bullet feeling” will only be temporary as opportunities slip through your fingers. Your confidence weakens and you achieve only a fraction of what you are capable of. Once you start giving up, it gets harder to start fighting again. So grit your teeth and get through it.
Fighting the fear may be uncomfortable, however, like anything we do, the more we practice the better we get. I was scared to do this speech but only after taking the step, getting up here and actually doing it, have I learnt that everything turns out fine. So boys, I encourage you to all push yourselves because these fears we make up in our heads, these deep rooted and often irrational thoughts, these fabricated worst case scenarios don’t actually happen in the real world. We can all fight and we can all be strong.
To end with a quote from the pop singer Kelly Clarkson. "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."