Too many of us settle because we are afraid of what the future holds. —Dr. Craig Manning
What is fear?
Fear is a mental construct. Meaning that fear does not actually exist in reality. You cannot touch fear, and despite the common cliche, you can’t smell fear either.
We feel fear because it helps protect us from life or death situations by drawing our mind to future negative outcomes. This is handy when you are deciding to walk into a lion cage or lean over a tall cliff without any safety equipment, but fear can hurt us when we let it dictate our daily decision making.
Fear only exists in the future. You may be afraid of snakes, but if you ever encounter one close up you wont be thinking about how scared you are of it, instead you will either fight it off or run away. This is called the “fight-or-flight” response. We know that our mind can only be occupied by one conscious thought at a time, making it impossible to fear and fight, or fear and run away. In essence, we cannot feel fear if our mind is firmly set on the present moment.
Why do we let fear influence our decisions?
The future is not real, but if we focus on our fear we make it real in our mind. Most of us think of the future in the terms of best or worst case scenarios. We get caught up in the dream and not the process, or the nightmare and not reality. Both of these types of thinking are dangerous and distract us from what we need to do on a daily basis to live the life we want to live, but fear of negative situations is the most dangerous. When our mind gets thinking of the future and what could go wrong we start to doubt. We doubt ourselves, what we are doing, and we even start to doubt our dreams. Once we let doubt into our mind we tend to become more distracted, and we begin to rationalize those distractions. Doubt leads to more thoughts of the future, and strengthens the power of fear.
We also let fear influence us when we underestimate, or don’t understand, our subconscious.
Social psychological studies have shown us that we tend to place more weight on a potential loss than a potential gain, even if the gain is of higher (objective) value. We place more consideration on potentially losing $5 than we would on potentially gaining $10. This subconscious phenomenon is call loss aversion. This phenomenon can influence our life if we begin to think about the risks of going after the life with we want as more devastating than the reward of reaching our dreams. If we are not aware of our subconscious our fear can, unknowingly, slip into our daily lives and decisions.
How do we prevent fear from influencing our life?
The way to prevent fear from taking control of our minds and leading us into cycles of doubt is by developing mental skill sets. If we learn to motivate ourself the right way we weaken fear. If we learn how to concentrate on the right things, on what is relevant, fear literally disappears. And so on. Fear lives in our mind so if we develop the right skill sets and master the right mental skills we can rid the effects of fear on our life. We will never completely eliminate fear from every situation because it can come in handy when we are in potential danger. The goal is to control fear and not let it control us. Once we take fear out of the equation our potential is free to grow and our training becomes limitless. The mind is at the core, so develop the mind and live fearless.
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