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How is fear holding you back?

Everything we do is driven by the need to avoid pain or the desire to gain pleasure

This is the final post on the three part series on fear. Additionally, I want to apologize to my readers for my blog’s dormancy in the last week or so. Due to the devastating hurricane in the Northeast last week, my entire community lost power for about a week and without any gas supplies, we had to restrict our movement to a bare minimum. However, we were fortunate and many others have experienced much worse during this storm. My best wishes, love and condolences go out to all those that have suffered and nothing but respect to the heroism and sense of service I witnessed throughout the storm. This event reinforced my belief that the best of humanity emerges from the worst of tragedies.

I will be addressing more about the storm and the recent election in my next post, but for now, I wanted to finish the 3 part series for those of you who are anxiously waiting for the conclusion. From today, this blog will be updated regularly on Monday’s and Thursday’s every week.

In the last few weeks we discussed the 8 reasons why fear is good for you and the 10 guaranteed ways to turn fear into fire. In the final post we are going to talk about what we get out of fear that keeps us imprisoned by it. This awareness will allow you to take action, turn the fear into fire and reap the benefits of fear instead of letting it control you.

Self awareness, as described Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves in Emotional Intelligence 2.0, is “a straightforward and honest understanding of what makes you tick” and it is “so important for job performance that 83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers.”

Self awareness is the first step in creating change and vital to our understanding of fear as well as the overall human condition. As such, we will start this discussion by outlining the driving forces of human behavior.

Believe it or not, but everything we do, we do for a reason and there are only two reasons why we do anything. Either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Every single action is dictated by these two forces. Maybe you want to lose weight, but you can’t stop eating chocolates. The only reason for that is because you associate more pleasure to eating the chocolate instead of more pain to keeping the weight. It is really that simple.

Within the context of fear, what then drives our actions and causes fear to imprison us?

Fear prevents forward progress when we associate massive pain to taking action. The perceived pain keeps us rooted in the bubble of our comfort zone. Unfortunately, many of us thrive in this state of certainty. Living in this state keeps us warm and secure. The irony is that certainty is one of the 9 human needs (more to come about the basic human needs in the following weeks). Certainty is necessary in that we all need a space to feel secure and comfortable. We as human beings cannot thrive in a state of constant uncertainty. Consequently, it does have its place. Yet when we let it, it debilitates us and holds us back.

The key then is re-association.

The simple act of changing the meaning you associate to things allows you to control what you do with fear. This single act will determine whether fear empowers you or dis-empowers you.

As a success coach, the fear I encounter the most is the fear of failure. This may comes as no surprise to many of you as this fear is one of the strongest killer of dreams. It is a fear unlike the fear of spiders, lizards, snakes, bugs, and things of that nature. People can go through their entire lives with no desire to conquer those fears because they do not come in the way of them living their lives. But the fear of failure, that keeps us entombed in a life of mediocrity.

We let that fear keep us from moving forward because we get something out of it. From my experience, the thing we get most out of a dis-empowering fear is that it meets our need for certainty and comfort.

Until you recognize that you get something out of fear, you will not be able to move past it. Once you acknowledge what you are getting out of fear, then all you have to do is re-frame the need you are meeting from being stuck in fear. If you are getting to stay comfortable in the world you know by being afraid of action, start making yourself uncomfortable by staying where you are now. Start associating massive pain to your current conditions and pleasure to your dream life. Once you are disturbed by your reality, you will then find yourself making changes to create a new one.

When you start to associate pain to inaction as opposed to action, fear will drive you forward. It’s that simple. Sign up for “The Endurance” newsletter below to get a full list of questions that will help you shift what you associate pain and pleasure to. How you use these questions will change your destiny.


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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama