Fear is the mind killer, the eradicator of potential and the eraser of personal progress. And if there’s one thing that will stop you embracing life, it’s fear.
Fear wants you to stay in your house and lock your door, to avoid smiling at a stranger because they could be dangerous, to avoid changing job because you won’t know anyone, to not trust anyone because you’ve had a previous bad experience.
We are born free of fear, but it quickly becomes a learned behaviour that benefits self-preservation; we need to be fearful of things that have the potential to endanger our lives.
But as we age, fear must be managed. It has the power to control us to an unhealthy level of restriction, and as such is often used as a weapon by those in positions of authority. Fear is a devious weapon because it is capable of controlling people without them realising it; keeping them locked in a certain place, mindset and ideology.
Fear can stop us asking questions of ourselves. It can stop us putting one foot in front of the other and trying new things. Essentially, fear can stop us living.
The Funny Thing About Fear
Think of some of the big achievements in your life to date. I bet my bottom dollar that those experiences were accompanied by a host of fears linked to failure: what if I fall over, what if I mess up my lines, what if people laugh at me, what if they think I’m totally unsuitable, what if I come last, what if I disappoint everyone.
The funny thing about fear is that 99.9 per cent of the time the associated worries never amount to anything more than worry. Even though past experiences tell us the fear is unfounded and built upon little more than exaggerated thought processes, we still let fear control our lives.
When Fear Becomes a Virus
The thing about fear is it spreads like a virus, not just through your life but also through the lives of those around you, causing those close to us to become fearful and anxious too.
The fear virus makes you avoid new challenges, preventing you taking steps to fulfil your happiness and potential. It stops you following your intuition, manifesting itself in your psyche and infecting every aspect of your life.
So, next time you feel fear holding you back from tackling a challenge you really want to face head on, ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen?
For a moment, let’s just say your fears did come true:
– You were laughed at.
– You did trip up.
– You weren’t good enough for the role.
– You found her attractive but she wasn’t into you.
– You did fail the test.
– You messed up the lines at the casting.
The true win is never in the result anyway; it’s in the action: the doing, the taking part, the putting yourself forward and doing it because it feels right for you. Your mum (or grandmother) was right; it is the taking part that really counts. Living is about putting yourself in for the race you want to run, even when winning isn’t guaranteed, and even when the odds are stacked firmly against you. The win is overcoming the fear.
Don’t Let Fear Second Guess Your Life
You can’t predict the future, but you can guarantee that the preconceptions you harbour through fear will be entirely wrong once you step up to the play. I mean, how often do things turn out the way you thought they would?
Think about how many times you have been wrong: how many times you thought you wouldn’t enjoy the party, wouldn’t like your new work colleague, wouldn’t cope with another baby, wouldn’t have enough money to get by. Fear is just a bunch of preconceptions regarding possible negative outcomes that are less likely to occur if you face the challenge head on, with an open mind (fulness) that allows you to flourish without restriction.
Fear multiplies when you back out. It begins to control you, beats you down, zaps your confidence and puts life on hold.
Fear only takes on a reality if you let it stop you taking action. Kick it to the curb and be the best you can.