Having written in the past about the unpleasant effects of fear — how it can lead to procrastination, creative blocks, and inconspicuous substance. Here I aim to explore it a little deeper.
It is our sense of fear that interferes with our success more often than actual failed attempts at success.
Looking deeper into the subject, following hundreds hours of working with people who suffer the pain of anxiety, I have discovered that often it is not actual fear we are dealing with. It’s something much more deceptive.
It’s not fear that holds you back.
It is F.E.A.R.
Fear is a good thing…
Fear is an emotional response to an actual threat, and it is a fundamental survival mechanism that serves us well throughout our history. When you’re in immediate danger, fear tells you to get yourself to someplace safer.
Once our ancestors saw a few friends and relatives consumed by Saber Tooth Tigers. Thereafter fearing these creatures became a smart move.
Nowadays we react in a similarly legitimate fashion when faced with a loaded Gun, a car veering toward us, a very angry person or a new track from One Direction.
Fear is also a true emotional response when we’re about to lose someone or something that’s important to us. So, it not just about our personal safety; we can fear the loss of a loved one to illness, or our home to repossession due to unemployment.
Here’s the problem.
The sensation people experience in the face of taking action to achieve their dreams; business, personal, spiritual, whatever; is usually not true fear.
So what is F.E.A.R?
Now if you are one of the many who have sat in front of me with anxiety, this will sound all very familiar to you; F.E.A.R. is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.
It is when there is no true or real threat of immediate physical danger, no threat of a loss of someone or something dear to us, nothing actually there at all.
F.E.A.R. is an illusion. Something we fabricate in our own amazing and creative minds and pretend is real. It’s a fairy tale we tell ourselves that keeps us from doing what we really want in life.
False Evidence Appearing Real.
The common label for F.E.A.R is anxiety, a less fundamental emotion that arises purely from our own thoughts, not external reality.
With 50 years of cognitive psychology research demonstrating that while we cannot always control how we feel, we do have the power to choose how we think and act.
How to overcome F.E.A.R.
“Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance. What a waste.” – Seth Godin
Q - Are past failures real evidence that justifies fear of future failure?
A – No they are most definitely not, because unless you keep doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting different results (one definition of insanity), you have no real evidence that your next approach will fail.
Q - Do past failures generate false evidence appearing real.
A – Again I must disagree, it’s likely you learned things from your past failures that instead provide evidence that your odds are now better than ever.
The worst-case scenario, in my view, involves those who have never failed, because they have never made the effort or push their boundaries. These people have zero real evidence of anything, and are living in the purest imaginary prison of the mind.
Did you know this?
Healthy, well-adjusted people take reasonable risks, push their boundaries, without all this deep dread over specific outcomes.
The journey is what you will remember and enjoy, and it just might take you somewhere better than you initially hoped. No matter what, with each journey, each learning experience along the way teaches you what you need to know to take the next one.
So, the formula for conquering F.E.A.R. is:
Action + Learn + Adaption + action = Success
Or who knows … it might just be:
Action = Success
One thing’s for certain, though … you won’t have any real evidence of anything until you do that action thing.