Fear. We all experience it at some point in our life and as with many things, we typically can’t control when it will appear.
However, we can control our response to the fear.
Often, the best response is to experience the fear, but take action anyway, which is principle #15 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” – Experience Your Fear and Take Action Anyway.
“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it.”
– Nelson Mandela
Experience the Fear
Fear isn’t comfortable and many people are tempted to ignore it when it appears. But fear will rarely stay hidden. It’s not uncommon to think “If I just stay positive, this will go away.”
However, that doesn’t work with fear. It doesn’t go away and if we try to just sweep it under the rug, we soon end up with a very lumpy rug ready to trip us at any moment.
We must face fear and experience it.
Fearing a New Mortgage
I remember when my wife and I decided to buy a new home. Everything seemed perfect, but at some point fear began creeping in for me. The mortgage would be the largest I ever had, and came with an exceptionally large monthly payment. I learned that I could back out within 30 days after receiving some paperwork and fear had me thinking about doing so.
Ultimately, I chose to experience the fear by facing it. “What’s the worst that can happen?” I asked myself.
If a disaster hit and I could no longer afford the mortgage, I would probably enjoy living there for a few years before the foreclosure timeline ran out and we’d move into an apartment. Still, it would be an enjoyable few years living in an awesome home in a gorgeous neighborhood. And there was no reason to expect a disaster.
And then I asked, what would happen if I succumbed to the fear and backed out.
- We’d stay in the same house where the street had become a busy byway with blitzing bass boomboxes barely disguised as cars.
- If we continued to park our second car on the street, it might be totaled by another drunk driver in the middle of the night, similar to how our previous car was destroyed.
- We’d stay in the same house with the infamous rental home two doors down where renters decided one night to climb up on the roof, naked, and shoot out car windows with their bb guns.
So I asked myself, even if my worst fear materialized, would I be better or worse?
Better. Far better.
This helped me gain a deeper understanding of FDR’s message when he said:– “Nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Fear could have easily prevented me from enjoying our new home when there was no real reason why we shouldn’t follow through.
And the next time the fear of this mortgage reared it’s ugly head, I laughed. Comparing the two options, it was easy to see that the potential rewards of the new home far outweighed the potential risk of default.
In case it isn’t clear, we chose action and moved into the new home and we love it.
Take Action Anyway
“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
Is fear blocking you from action? Is there something that you’ve been considering doing but are instead frozen in fear?
If so, the best response is to take action. If you’re taking a leap in your career take massive action. Look for inspiration and take inspired action.
But whatever you do, don’t let fear stop you.
I love the quote from the movie Tomorrowland.
“There are two wolves who are always fighting.
“One is darkness and despair.
“The other is light and hope.
“The question is: which wolf wins?
“The one you feed.”
It’s an old Indian legend. It’s a repeating law of attraction message. It is eternal wisdom.
If you feed the darkness and despair of fear, it will win.
About This Post
I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.
Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.