In 2014 I decided to finally face one of my fears to be able to fulfill one of my dreams I had for many years. It involved lasers.
I remember back in 1984 I moved from Iceland to Denmark because of my fathers studies. I started elementary school there at age 6 and for me this was one of those life experiences you never forget. New country, new language and new friends. To keep it short I became fluent in speaking Danish in 4 months (children learn new languages really fast) while my parents were speaking some kind of mixture of Scandinavian English I guess.
Soon after I started school I was having trouble to see on the classroom wallboard and after complaining to my parents I remember getting my first glasses. It was not something I thought a lot about at the time. 3 years later we moved back to Iceland and I started in a new school and as I got older I got more and more annoyed about having to wear glasses. I hated how nerdy and geeky I looked with them.
I had been diagnosed near-sighted and as the years went by it just increase and by the time I was 17 I had -5 which is quite a lot. I remember how annoying it was to go swimming and to play football in school. I couldn’t run the risk of getting the ball into my face and breaking my glasses. So I had to take them off if I was involved in any activities that involved a lot of physical movement. I do remember breaking them at least two times though. I remember playing basketball with my friends when I was a teenager. I was quite a good player but I had a really hard time seeing the ring!
Finally at the age of 17 I had enough of this I decided I wanted to try contact lenses as I knew it was making life easier for a lot of people that had to use glasses, I saw that they had the chance of improving the quality of my life. The thought of inserting objects into my eyes was a little bit frightening but my doctor taught me all about taking care of them and my eyes and soon I was wearing them daily. My doctor had told me to wear them along with glasses – meaning taking breaks and also using glasses so that my eyes could take breaks from the contact lenses. I was thrilled having new vision everywhere I went! The difference from contact lenses and glasses for my was mostly that with contacts you have so much more visual range to the sides. Peripheral vision I think it’s called. It’s hard to describe for someone who hasn’t had glasses for a long time but to describe shortly it was like I had been stuck with tunnel vision for years but suddenly I could see in all directions.
With time I completely stopped using glasses as it felt so good having “eagle vision” and I also felt much more confident with not having to use glasses. I had been teased when I was younger for having to wear them and I did not miss it at all. Also the fact that they were quite thick as my vision had been rather bad – made it look even “nerdier” – like Cock Bottles. Not cool. Don’t get me wrong. Today looking “nerdy” is considered rather cool in a “nerdy” way. I like nerds and I still consider myself a nerd. But back in the 90’s being a nerd was not “nerdy” cool. It was just uncool. And when you are a teenager you are not very confident with yourself – at least I wasn’t. The years passed and with time I started to feel a slightly uncomfortable feeling in my eyes. My doctor told my that I should switch from “montly” contact lenses to “daily”. Every night I would have to put the lenses in a special liquid to disinfect the lenses and to remove proteins the eyes produce and get stuck on the lenses. To my delight the new daily lenses were very comfortable as they were a new type, much thinner and I could hardly feel them in my eyes.
Some years passed and during that time I had met people that underwent laser eye surgery and now had 20/20 vision. People that had worse eye-sight than me. In the first years of this option being available in Iceland I simply ruled it out to the price and also the fact that the idea of having someone going with a knife or a laser near to my eyes was terrifying. I had heard some stories (call them urban myths or whatever) of people that had come out worse after having one of these surgeries and that really threw me off. Of course most people value their bodies but I think they eyes are extremely precious to us for a good reason and we don’t want to take big risks when it comes to them. But the thing was that I was developing allergy towards my contact lenses. I had been using contacts for so long that my eyes were getting tired of it. Believe it or not my doctor told me that the eyes need oxygen and to have be exposed to clean air. By wearing contact lenses I was denying them of that. Short-term it’s probably not going to have any huge effect but long-term like in my case I had been abusing my eyes up to the point I felt a burning sensation from the contact lenses. My eyes had said: enough!
So In 2014 I had a decision to make. Was I going to go back wearing glasses or was I going to have an eye laser surgery. There were no other option. I don’t want to sound dramatic but for me this was a bit of a dilemma as this was effecting my work were I stare at computer screens for a considerable amount of time. Having eye troubles was not going to make my work easier. The thing was that I had become a little bit frustrated about hearing all the “success” stories of people who went to have the operation and came out with almost new eyes totally. When I started looking into these surgeries and educate myself about them I saw how much development this eye-laser industry has gone through just in the past 10 years. The thing was that I didn’t fully trust this new technology in the past as I had been told that there was “always a slight chance of an error”. But in 2014 it seemed that the technology was getting really good. I scheduled and interview with a doctor at one of the companies providing these operations in Iceland. Everybody has to go through a short inspection and interview as not all applicants are a good candidate for this kind of surgery. Not sure exactly what the terms are but it’s some sort of medical conditions that have to be fulfilled. Turns out I was an excellent candidate for this kind of operation and to be honest my fears of having it was based on a rather un-solid foundation.
Yes, the doctor explained that nothing is 100% in the world but the current technology had about 99.99% success rate and the chance of any errors or the lazer going on some-kind of HAL9000 Terminator rampage was slim to none. The computer reads the eye and before the surgery you get liquid poured over it to paralyze it from moving. Also a sensor monitors the movement of the eyeball so that if it move too much – it switches off the laser. Also the was just window of 15 seconds that was “critical” for the operation and were it was very important to have the eye not move. With the method mentioned before it was actually not very hard. You really would have to try hard to screw up the operation and even in that case the computer would intercept in any case of screw-up.
To sum it up I did have the surgery about a week later. Having evaluated the situation, the risk and potential benefits of having the surgery, I was much more comfortable taking the decision. Many times our fears are based upon something we have created in our minds and are simply not true or over-exaggerated. Something we might have heard from someone we know and we start to believe it’s a hard fact that can’t be changed. Listening to all the people who have gone this road before and talking to a person who is an expert in his field is definitely a smart move is you are about to take a big decision for your life. There are always risks. Flying in an airplane is a risk. Driving a car is a risk. Smoking is a risk. Well smoking is dum. It’s a BIG risk without any definite benefit of value. It might seem cool to someone but long-term it’s a really bad decision in my opinion. Ok I’m maybe a little off track here 🙂
The reason I wanted to tell you about this story of mine is simple. Maybe you are on the brink of taking a big decision in your life. To quit your job maybe. To travel the world. To hire a mentor. To start an online business. The thing is if you really want to progress and grow in life it’s unavoidable at some time to take some “risks”. Nothing comes from nothing. But it’s how we decide to look at it. Calculated risks can be taken. Risks can be managed. We can’t be afraid of taking action and grabbing the goose when it flies by. I see successful people all around me that put into action the right decisions at the right time and gave them a huge return instead. They evaluated the long-term value versus maybe a short-term expense. Same with my and the surgery. I knew that it was bit expensive at $2000 and like many medical operation – some risk is always included. But I knew that long-term it could vastly improve my life. I would be able to fall asleep in the sofa without having to go every night into the bath-room and take them out and put into a very expensive liquid. I would be able to start my day seeing clearly without having to put them in every morning. No need to spend $50 every month buying lenses and preservation liquid for them. That’s $600 dollars a year.$6000 in 10 years. So of course for me this was a no-brainer. And the operation was of course successful and today I have 20/20 vision. I never need glasses or contacts and my sight is measured almost 0 versus -5 the day before the surgery. I’m not going to lie, it felt a little bit uncomfortable for 5-10 seconds but then it was over. No pain or anything and it was much easier than I anticipated. My eyes needed about 1 day recovering but just 3 hours after the operation I was seeing quite good. Today three years later I feel like it’s one of the best decisions I have made. It simplified my life tremendously. I know some people that are too afraid to even consider having an operation like this. Maybe they don’t want to spend their money. I don’t know.
I do however know that when you have the change to improve yourself and your life you should do it. I have spent thousands of dollars on coaching programs and recently invested $2000 into an affiliate program. That’s right. You heard me. I PAID to be able to have the chance to promote a product. Some would consider that crazy. To me it was an opportunity too good to skip and an opportunity to learn more and earn more in the coming future. I embrace the fact that if I’m going to grow and have what most people want – success – then I have to do what most people don’t want to – invest in myself. I like saying investing instead of spending. Spending is throwing money on something that is not going to give you anything in return. Investing means to put money into something that is going to hopefully return to you multiple times. And do you know what? It does. If you work hard then it almost always will.
I hope this story inspired you and helps you if you are considering finally have the change you wanted, to take that decisions you always wanted or just to motivate you on your path to success.
Hafsteinn Thordarson / Next Step Freedom
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