A young boy walks home from school every day.
One day, midway through his normal route, a dog started chasing after him, yipping and yapping, at full speed.
The boy, terrified of getting bitten, did what any young boy would have done… he ran.
He ran at full speed to home with the dog on his tail and with tears in his eyes.
The next day, he passed by the start of his normal route and saw the dog down the street, as if he was waiting for him.
This forced the boy to take a longer route, about 10 minutes longer and way out of his way compared to his usual route.
He got home tired and frustrated from his long walk. He told himself to try the shorter route(his usual route) again if the dog is nowhere to be seen.
The day ended and tomorrow came like any other day would.
The young boy finds himself looking down the street of his usual route and the dog is nowhere to be seen.
Thinking that it is safe, he proceeded down the street. Sure enough, midway through the route, the dog came out of nowhere and chased after him, yipping and yapping at full speed!
The boy ran home again with tears in his eyes, tired and frustrated. He slept that night thinking that he might have to take the longer route for the rest of his life. A thought he wasn’t happy about.
He ended up taking the long route for the rest of the week, not even bothering to try the short route because he was sure the dog will be there to chase after him.
Then one day, he was feeling good about himself. It was a particularly good day. He did well in class, had fun with his friends in school, and felt like the whole day will be good to him. It was time to walk home.
As he was passing by the start of the shorter route, he looked down the street and didn’t see the dog.
He thought to himself that this day is really good. He started to walk down the short route.
As we could all expect, the dog showed up as if to appear out of nowhere, and sure enough chased after the boy.
The boy saw the dog and started running again — but for some reason today was different.
He thought to himself, “I’ve had it with this dog!”
He stopped suddenly, turned around, and faced the dog that was chasing after him.
The dog, surprised by this abrupt action by the boy, also stopped in his tracks.
For a long second they looked at one another.
The boy, with his heart beating fast and strong, frantically looked for a small rock to throw at the dog in case he comes after him. An action taught by many to do if being chased by dogs — to stop, don’t run, and act like you are picking up something to throw at the dog.
What happens next came as a surprise to the boy.
He noticed something different with the dog. Something weird.
The dog pull back his mouth as if to show his fangs and the boy noticed that the dog’s mouth was all pink.
The dog had no teeth! Just gums! The dog was harmless in the first place!
Realizing this, the boy chased after the dog.
“Get out of here!” He shouted to the dog, laughing and feeling foolish of himself at how that sudden turn of events came about.
He came home that day feeling elated and fulfilled, because he had just encountered his fear of the dog. The dog that chased after him for days. The dog that had no teeth.
From then on, the boy walks down his usual route and even enjoys the dog’s company.
This story of the boy and the dog with no teeth was a story told by Les Brown.
Sometimes we are scared of something that we shouldn’t even be scared about.
Sometimes we don’t know what we are facing until we actually face it, and most of the time the thing we fear most actually has no teeth — just gums!
Sometimes, most times, we come to a point where we say “I’ve had it!”, and the decision to face our fear is the choice we make that changes our lives.
Fear limits us to what we can do and what we can see.
Fear can be the only barrier for change to happen and the decision to face it breaks that barrier.
The boy grew tired from walking down the longer route, and grew tired from being chased by the dog down the short one.
He knows that the usual route is more preferable. That’s the way he knows will make him happy and satisfied. He either has to walk the longer and less preferred route for all the days to come, or do something about the circumstance he faces when walking down his more preferred route.
He decided that change had to happen. The question “What are you going to do about it?” comes to mind. The only way for change to take place is if he deals with his current predicament.
That was to face his fear of the dog and confront him.
The result? He made a new friend while having the peace of mind in walking down the street he much more preferred.
When we overcome our fears, new opportunities will become available to us. More doors will open only when we face what hinders us from moving forward.
Most of the time, the fear you are facing has no teeth. Only gums.