Fear. Even the word sounds bad. And the thing itself can be crippling. But fear is not necessarily a bad thing...
I hear a lot of motivational speakers say that fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. I disagree. Fear can be a good and necessary thing. It protects us from much harm, and it is a finely developed survival instinct.
If you are driving home on a snowy or rainy night, you might be afraid of the road conditions. This is a good thing, as it will cause you to exercise more care. You might lower your speed, and increase your following distance.
But when fear becomes so strong that it paralyzes you from action, it becomes debilitating. The beneficial warning qualities of fear are neutralized, because you are too scared to act on the information.
The best example of this is people with escapist mentality. They simply pretend that unfavorable situations don’t even exist.
I know people that I can send ten messages a day, and they respond to every one of them. Then I might send a message asking what happened to some commitment that they made weeks before and haven’t delivered on. The message just seems to disappear. They just ignore it, and hope I forget about it I guess.
So have you ever done this? Think about the anxiety you experience, and the fear that comes wondering when the next, follow up message will be. The fear becomes greater over time, and the stress it puts upon you is draining. So what should you do?
The same thing can happen with procrastination for some unpleasant task you have to perform. Suppose you have to fire someone at work, or ask someone for a big favor. You vacillate and wait, and the stress on you builds.
If you want to overcome fears like this, immediate action is the key. When you have something to do that you don’t want to do—do it fast and get the pressure off. Invariably the negativity is less than you feared, and a great weight lifts off your shoulders.
And if you’ve missed the mark on something, just own up to it and move forward. You could send back an apology for missing the deadline and offer a new one that you will honor. Fear-based evasions build stress and anxiety. Owning up to things and taking action builds character, reduces fear, and makes you feel better fast.
When you take action like this, you build positive habits, and your ability to respond to unfavorable things. Then if you get in a dangerous situation, you are much more likely to take action to protect yourself.
The last situation is when the fear really is not justified. Oftentimes the fear of something is worse than the actual thing itself. Check that. I would say it’s most of the time. These are the fears of self-doubt that keep people mired in mediocrity.
Think about the last time you were scared. Was it a healthy fear, or one of the others? Please share your thoughts and we’ll pick this up on the next post.
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