There was a time when perhaps Cian Healy's biggest fears encompassed what he could or could not do on a rugby field.
Now, it seems, his greatest apprehensions arrive well beyond the final whistle.
Yesterday, one of the favourites to assume the loosehead berth on this summer's Lions tour tweeted his delight at overcoming one of his greatest fears off the field.
A visit to the dentist.
And so, having conquered the occasional demons that may have haunted him in the past when it came to scrum time, he can now cross another item of anxiety from the list.
Indicative of a newer, fresher Ireland side now seemingly set fair for another championship tilt, 25-year-old Healy has become a focal point in a squad desperately seeking to annex more silverware in order to sate their self-acknowledged unfulfilled ambition at international level.
The Clontarf man is at once a stalwart of Declan Kidney's side yet a character who retains the innate vibrancy that makes him more akin to the character of, say, a Simon Zebo, as much as one of the team's veterans.
Having amassed 36 caps and an extraordinary record of achievement with his province, it is perhaps now time to firmly acknowledge that Healy's reputation as a rugby player is beyond question.
That reputation has developed so stealthily and strongly that there were genuine fears amongst Leinster and Ireland supporters when he became the last significant man standing as the IRFU attempted to ensure that nobody followed in the slipstream of Jonathan Sexton's move to France.
Mercifully, Healy signed on the dotted line and his new contract does not expire until the end of the 2016 season, when he will still be of an age to spread his wings, should he so choose.
Healy has worked incredibly hard to arrive at a stage when he has become almost as indispensable as the man anchoring the other side of the scrum.
It has not always been so, and the thinly disguised digs at someone who deigned to seek self-expression in a variety of other passions – from art to music to monster vehicles – often threatened to draw a veil over a steadily nascent ascent into an international player of repute.
Perhaps his most noted predecessors of recent times are best-placed to indicate precisely the merits of the man, beginning by asking Nick Popplewell to assess the claims of his loosehead compatriot.
"He's absolutely fantastic," gushes the 49-cap international. "I really admire him. The workrate is just astronomical. And the scrummaging is improving all the time. You ask yourself, how does he scrummage when he does all that work? He is just doing it. It's not something you learn overnight. But your body starts doing things automatically. You get used to the lads around you.
"His tackle rate is unbelievable. And obviously scoring that try against Wales should see him get fined.
"In fairness, you're only as good as the tighthead. He does all the hard work. If you're shuffling around, you're in trouble. Having said all that, he's as good as anyone I've seen."
And Popplewell has seen plenty.
Healy's Leinster career may be brimful of achievements but, since literally bursting on to the international scene with that barnstorming burst to set up the equalising try against Australia in his November 2009 debut, he has won nothing with Ireland.
His promotion was primed perfectly after he had helped Ireland 'A' win the Churchill Cup earlier that year, a campaign supervised by Kidney and subsequently fertile ground for the post-Grand Slam transition.
Their relationship didn't begin perfectly and it typified Healy's progression from raw, sloppy ingenue to the hard-edged pro we see today.
It is an often recounted tale, but when Kidney and then Leinster coach Michael Cheika had a sit-down with Healy, Kidney was enthused that the youngster painted.
"A bit of manual work is great," said Kidney. "Nah, mate, he f***ing draws sketches," guffawed Cheika.
Cheika had his early difficulties too, with Healy's sloppiness in his first full year as a pro – being late for meetings and such – an unnecessary distraction, but being surrounded by so many high achievers eventually rubbed off on the one-time athletics prospect.
His laconic attitude often jars with those he meets, particularly the media; he prefers to be confronted by a set of decks rather than a set of mics.
Team-mates too have had to reassess him. Even before that 2009 debut for Ireland, Jerry Flannery – a left-field character himself – was over-awed at the seemingly carefree figure in the dressing-room bouncing around, beats by Dr Dre clinging to both ears.
Hence his off-field reputation – the DJ opening set at Oxegen, skipping from his hotel last spring to check out a Paris exhibition, the model girlfriend – unnerves those who seem to want their sports stars neatly packaged.
His old teacher Ger Conran in Belvedere used to let him play the radio in art class; those who have indulged his gifts have usually wrought the greatest input from him. Needless to say, both Kidney and his Leinster counterpart, Joe Schmidt, are both from the teaching profession.
As he told the Irish Independent last year, Healy is repaying that faith with renewed commitment.
"You're always evolving and so is the game," he revealed. "You've got to be open to change. And I have changed.
"I've found myself becoming a little bit more professional in my approach. Especially preparation. I'd rest my body a bit more. Normally I'd hate sitting down and I'd be rambling into town or whatever.
"I feel I'm getting better all the time. The game is getting harder so I might not notice it, but sometimes when I look back over things, I can see little things like technique or the way I ran into a tackle. I'm a fairly 'in the moment' kind of guy. I show up, I play the game and I go home.
"I have a goal that I want to be the best, set a new standard. And have people looking at me going 'Jesus, how is he doing that?'
"It's ever-evolving so hopefully I can keep changing. For the better."
The graph is still rising.
An even more qualified judge than Popplewell, another New Zealand tourist with the Lions – 22 years earlier in 1971 – Sean Lynch, unhesitatingly proffers his own affidavit.
"He's a very strong prop, very able and he's improved," says Lynch. "He's fascinated me as an old front-rower, he's done really well."
Healy seems destined to follow in some illustrious footsteps next summer.
Others now fear him.