Halloween is the scariest of the holidays, well, unless you’re a last-minute Christmas shopper! Either way, I thought it would be beneficial to address one of the main things that prevents people from succeeding: fear.
Fear is the enemy. Fear leads to inaction, worry and regret. Some examples: You might not even attempt something new, because you fear the outcome. You might not ask an important question, because you fear the answer. Instead of thinking something through, you might act irrationally out of fear. Is all of your fear justified?
You might be familiar with this acronym:
That makes things interesting . . .
Fear is never a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse.
~Norman Vincent Peale
The Scary Truth
False expectations that appear real. That’s a pretty accurate definition of what fear is, isn’t it? We fear the outcome of an action or circumstance and then usually we freeze because of it. Fear is a cousin to worry. Worry is stressing about a situation that may or may not occur, and it’s always in the negative sense.
Have you ever had any of these thoughts?
- I can’t _______, what if they get mad or . . .
- I can’t learn to ____, I’m too old.
- I can’t leave my ____, because . . .
- But what if _____ happens?
Those are all examples of fear.
I’m sure you can think of many other ways that fear holds us back. We expend tremendous amounts of energy on remaining, rather than on gaining. If you prepare, then act on that preparation, you can overcome your fear.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie
Born This Way
According to psychology, we are all born with only two fears:
- The fear of loud noises.
- The fear of falling.
These are so deeply ingrained in us that, even though I grew up in an loud Italian household, I still jump when surprised by a sudden loud noise. You’d think I’d be used to it! But no. It’s hard-wired, and can be beneficial as a protective mechanism.
If we are born with just those two fears, what does that tell us?
All other fears are learned!
The good news is that, if other fears that cripple us from time to time are learned, we can also unlearn them. Or at least become aware of them, and slowly but surely start to overcome them. If you think you can’t do it, read this.
Keep in mind, I’m not saying that using this approach means that every situation will work out in your favor, that’s unrealistic. Just remember that it’s not always a bad thing when things don’t work as planned.
Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.
~ Marianne Williamson
I am not saying that conquering a fear of eating creepy, crawly creatures is necessary, but when it comes to the real world, and factors that can affect the quality of your life, this acronym I’ve created might help you to overcome fear.
- Fact Check
Check the Facts first. Formulate a list regarding the specific situation. You can do this in your head, but it is better to write it down on paper. List your answers to the following questions:
- What are the possible outcomes?
- What are the probable (most likely) outcomes?
- What do you stand to gain if you go ahead with it?
- What are the risks, what is the reward?
- Have you ever remained still and regretted it in a similar situation? What was that situation?
Erase the imaginary feelings created by fear, and embrace the facts that point to a good result. Eliminate the unlikely possibilities–the ones associated with worry–and focus instead on the probabilities of what might happen if you take action. What can help you succeed??
Act to Resolve the situation in your favor. There’s an expression that says “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Though you may not eliminate fear altogether, you can still conquer it by reasoning things out logically rather than emotionally. This enables you to make progress towards your goals, instead of just giving up on them.
- Will you get attacked by a bear while visiting the zoo? It’s possible, but not probable. So go to the zoo and have fun!
- Will you fail a test that you studied for? It’s possible, but if you studied enough, not probable. So fear not, and go get an A!
If you examine the situation properly, by identifying the probable outcomes, you will empower yourself to move forward without fear!
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Right about now you might be thinking “Yeah, Rob, that’s easier said than done.” But ask yourself these questions:
- Is it easy to live a life of fear, which often leads to inaction and regret?
- Is it easy to act on and overcome fear?
Neither road is easy, so you may as well go for the one that will bring you more rewards and less stress! You have nothing to lose. In fact you have more to lose if you let fear hold you back, because we often project a scary or negative outcome and then make it so. It’s the Law of Attraction. By acting in strife and negative emotion, we ultimately ruin what might have been a good thing.
It’s a bummer not knowing what would have happened had you made a better decision. Don’t leave things up to chance and don’t give up control over something you’re fully equipped to handle. You are fully equipped to overcome more obstacles than you may realize.
The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it, he cannot act till then. ~ Thomas Carlyle
Rock Star Life Coach & Sales Trainer