I’m reminiscing about my childhood. Growing up in a Communist country left a mark on me. I remember the rationed food and water. I also remember the government controlling the temperature in our apartments and deciding our bedtime by shutting down the power in the entire city – you can only imagine how long the cold winter and how humid the summer nights were.

And the mosquitoes? I can still remember the sleepless nights from fighting those bastards. With so few owning AC units, we used to sleep at night with the windows open to cool off during the summertime. This was basically an invitation to a sauna for hundreds of the bloodthirsty little vampires. They came to eat and we laid down, just waiting to be eaten.

And we can’t forget the bananas. We didn’t have the patience to let them ripen, so we quickly became familiar with the taste of green bananas. Perched on top of the dresser like trophies, bananas used to be our early Christmas present for when we perfected our climbing skills.

Black and white TV, breast-less chicken-feet soup, green bananas, mosquitoes, cold showers and Nicolae Ceausescu– these were all a part of living with Communism. We had no choices or freedoms. We weren’t allowed to talk or even to dream, and yet we were all kept very busy; or at least, I was busy.

Mondays meant drop-off and Fridays meant pick-up from the Kindergarten dorms, so during the week my six-year-old self would keep busy planning, or carrying out, my escapes. Sometimes they worked, but mostly I just got caught. Discipline wasn’t enforced by our parents in the form of time-outs; but rather, by a supervisor with a long whip and a firm hand.

Off-school or vacation days, my brother and I would spend locked in our apartment for hours on end. Even without TV or any kind of technology, we managed to keep ourselves extremely busy.  Sometimes I was productive, but most times I wasn’t and would found myself repeatedly in trouble. But regardless, I was never bored – and this is my point.  I was dreaming of a better life while society was telling me to stop and go to sleep. I was busy finding my purpose while being brainwashed to believe there was no purpose.

We all have our stories. And while they may include tough times; cold, sleepless nights; or hungry, kindergarten days; there was always a lesson to be learned. And we all have our lessons.

I learned that our attitude dictates our future. Living with Communism taught me that nothing happens to us; but rather, around us, unless we are ill or hurt. This is why it’s important how we react to what’s going on around us. It is entirely our responsibility to react appropriately, and it’s what separates the winners from the losers, and the successes from the failures. But WAIT, there’s more… an even bigger lesson.

I WAS ALWAYS SCARED. I was afraid I’d never had the opportunity to live my dreams or become the person I was meant to be. Fear was, and still is, a part of my life. It is the kind of FEAR that I believe everyone should either have or at least, allow themselves to feel. And now I’m asking you – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Instead of avoiding having to feel pain by keeping busy and preoccupied with endless tasks, how about we all allow ourselves to be afraid? AFRAID of not fully living our lives. AFRAID of not reaching our utmost potential. AFRAID of being afraid.

Being afraid is just another opportunity to be brave and conquer your limitations. Acknowledging and managing your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; but rather, a sign of strength and maturity.

BE SCARED SHITLESS. Be scared of not yet finding a purpose. Fear living someone else’s life. Be scared of not being yourself. Be incredibly scared of living this life without finding true love, without finding your passion and WITHOUT FINDING AND LOVING YOUR TRUE SELF.

These are the lessons I learned growing up under Communism. Because they helped me to understand and accept how I felt, I decided to share them with you. What is your lesson, and what have you learned? Send your story to Leo@ResultsStudio.com, or leave it in your comment.

God bless.

Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.