The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
Spiders. Public speaking. Flying. Terrorist attacks. Snakes. Death. Rejection. Commitment. Being a failure. War. Crime. Being alone. The future. The dark . . .
These are just a few of the things that people routinely list as their fears! I’m sure you have some of your own little phobias and private terrors. Go ahead and take a moment and jot some of them down so you can see them sprawled out before you in black and white.
Now, there are some fears that keep us safe. Indeed, some fear even pushes us to be better. But, most fears do nothing more than demolish our potential.
Interestingly, for as much as our fears seem to propel us away from success, it has been said that there are really only two inborn fears that people have and which are survival reactions:
1. The fear of falling, and
2. The fear of loud noises
Research goes on to argue that, other than the fears of falling and loud noises, all fears are merely learned over time. They can be culturally based. They can be societal in origin. Or, they can simply be acquired on an individual, experiential basis. And, because that’s the case, you can unlearn the dread that is ultimately holding you back.
Are You Really Afraid Of What You’re Afraid Of?
Scroll back up and look at our list of fears, again. Better yet, look at that list you made of your own frights. Are you really afraid of any of those things? You’re gut might immediately and loudly yell, YES! But . . . and here comes the spectacular shock and awe moment . . . I’m willing to bet that you’re not actually afraid, for example, of spiders. Instead, when you take a step back from your anxiety, you begin to realize that you’re really scared that you won’t be able to manage or control a situation in which a spider appears. That’s a huge distinction! I need you to understand that there is a tremendously huge difference in being afraid of a little spider and being afraid of being bitten.
It’s your perceived incompetence (your lack of authority) over the situation that ultimately leads to your lack of composure and then readily guides you into doing your fear response. By that time, the fear is blown out of proportion and you have forgotten what really started this whole disastrous chain of feelings. To put it another way, once you realize that you can become self-assured that you can handle a spider situation so that you are not in danger of any kind, your fear will instantly vanish!
Start Doing Competence
Notice I said doing competence. I did not say being competent. Banishing your damaging and ill-serving fear is about taking action – not just thinking about your emotions. Once you stop being resigned to doing your normal fear reaction and start acting in control, your physical actions will convince your mind that you can be fearless. This is all about how you transform your response of fear into a response of mastery.
To see how hugely effective this concept of triumph is for you, let’s play a game (please don’t do this while you’re driving or at any other time that would be unsafe for you to do so).
STEP 1. Select any one of your fears.
STEP 2. Even though you are in the physical safety of your own home or office, start imagining that fear happening right now! Get in touch with those feelings of fear about the thing, or person, or animal.
STEP 3. Now, hold that feeling and that thought for a moment and step back in your mind. Start that logical part of you in motion that questions and solves problems, and ask yourself: What are all the possible ways I can . . .
. . . take charge
. . . tackle the situation
. . . deal with this
. . . guide myself and others
. . . direct the outcome
Let your mind be as imaginative and visionary as possible. Get lost in all the positive solutions that you have at your disposal.
STEP 4. Revisit the fear you imagined in Step 1 and notice how you feel different! If you need to redo Step 3, go back right now and really plan out how you can and will control a situation that used to enslave you.
Being Faithful To Being Fearless
You have seen how powerful and easy it is to change your concept of fear and put yourself into a creative and enterprising state that has you in control. Now, you need to pledge that you will continue forward with this unshackled state of mind. Imagine what your life would be like without gratuitous fear! Be relieved that you now have the tools to make this happen.
This commitment requires you to take on your concept of fear full on. You must look what you thought of (previously) as fear, straight in the eye, and tell it that you can handle any situation or person or thing that is thrown your way. You must become intoxicated with the belief that you can sort out anything that previously gave rise to dread, terror, and anxiety.
Then, as long as you are not putting yourself in real danger (remember, some fear is good for us and keeps us safe), start living your life fearlessly. Start taking chances. Start taking risks. Get out of your fear-ridden rut. Now!
Heroes Laugh at Horrors
Finally, once you have put yourself into your new state of mind and know, deep down inside, that you can handle anything, take some time to look back on the times when fear froze you in your tracks; when fear prevented you from rising to your highest potential. Then . . . laugh at yourself! One of the quickest ways to banish fear is to laugh at it.
Start Being Capable
So, what happens when you find that you truthfully can’t handle a situation or don’t believe you are competent to deal with something. Rather than surrendering back into your old life habits, it’s time to start learning knew skills.
Ask yourself:What would I have to learn to do in order to handle [fill in your favorite fearful situation]?
Then, listen to the answer that comes from within. You already know what needs to be done to bring you the ability to handle your fears. Have the daring to take the steps necessary to shatter your disempowering fears once and for all!
It’s Your Life – Make a Choice to Live Valiantly
Being fearless and having the confidence to handle any situation does not guarantee that you won’t eventually make a mistake or have to face a new fear. Having the conviction that you are competent does mean, however, that you are resilient and clever, and this gives rise to you also being brave enough to go out and live life to the fullest. You are now one of those people who can be more spontaneous because – no matter what comes your way – you have the personal tools to be in control.
If you refuse to be a victim to your fear, you will essentially replace what used to hold you back with a mindset that can accomplish anything. And, you will be the envy of the world. . . because most people walk around scared enough to let the fear dictate their actions. You, on the other hand, will exemplify what William Shakespeare once wrote: Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.
Now, care enough to go out and life your life well!
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