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Fear That Stops You

Posted By: Randy GageJuly 2, 2010

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.

-RG

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18 comments on “Fear That Stops You”

  1. Randy, what a timely post! I was just talking to a friend last night about fear and it holding people back. Fear also holding me back.....from....well, leaving comments on blogs like yours. Fear of putting yourself and your thoughts "out there" for everyone to see has been a fear of mine. I am working to overcome it. And yes, my fear seems to be worse than the actual blogging!

  2. Wow Randy! That's what I needed to read today... I always procrastinate things I don't want to do, and then I'm getting more and more frightened to do them, feeling buterflies in my stomach... Next time I'll think I'll place this phone call or write that letter later, I'll think of you and what you said about our fears stopping us.
    Thanks for touching a raw nerve!

  3. Randy...I came across a great quote/observation on fear from a book I read about ten years ago. It was "Feel the fear and do it anyway!" Obviously, this is concerning the debilitating type of fear rather than the WISE type of fear for a dangerous situation. I have applied it myself many times. Like when I signed up to do my first half marathon. I was quite concerned that I wasn't trained enough, too old knees, blah-blah-blah. So, I just sucked it up, acknowledged that I had fear about this, refused to say I "couldn't do this" and then just went out and did it anyway. The feeling of accomplishment was fantastic!

  4. Well interesting you should bring this up. As a child my folks sent me to Dr. Frankenstein, DDS and needless to say I developed a huge fear of dentists. The result was not properly caring for my teeth as an adult, and it got to the point where I needed some serious work done. I was in fear about it for the past 18 months, and then I decided to take the bull by the horns, and get it done.

    I went to the dentist 2 days ago and did it. As I heal now, I'm confident my health will improve, I'll attract a great woman and Life will be better overall. Yes, fear can really get in the way and even cause health problems.

    Thanks Randy.

  5. Tinha muito medo, de abrir meu negocio proprio, conseguir abri, mas é muito complicado, como é dificíl, mas estou seguindo seus conselhos, religião, dizímo, pensamento positivo. obrigado

  6. Great post Randy. Nine times out of ten I act straight away and dispel the fear. But there is the odd time when something holds me back. Not sure yet what but am working on it. So its great to get your post which nudges me to think a bit more..
    Have a great weekend
    love Angie :))

  7. "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."

    I think de-cluttering is like this... do it fast and get the pressure off. Clutter is negative energy ... the sooner you get rid of it, a great weight lifts off your shoulders.

    I also think it helps just to take care of your own clutter (other adults can take care of their own...and I am not a parent but I amguessing parents would teach kids to de-clutter their stuff.)

    thank you!

  8. I love the quote about taking immediate action to get rid of any fear you're feeling.

    Personally... I get physically sick before I do things I fear. 2 big fears I've conquered lately were public speaking (actually... my first time public speaking - I ended up on stage 4 times in the same weekend... and ended up loving it) and scuba diving, which I just did 2 weeks ago.

    My next stop is skydiving 🙂

    I don't have any problems getting myself to OVERCOME whatever fear I feel... however, I can't figure out how to not actually get sick over it. It's really weird and I actually make jokes over it to my wife - but can't figure out how to make it not happen!

    Any suggestions Randy?

    Jeremy Reeves

        1. Hmm... yea maybe I can try doing some visualizations or something like that and seeing everything "going perfectly"... and of course feeling myself with no nausea 😉

          I'll try it out next time I'm going to do something like that

  9. Randy, great post!!!
    /Would be nice to get more posts on how to overcome personal weaknesses & build character - i guess you have great experience to share with others/
    ....I think about fears - its most important/difficult to START to do, what you are afraid to do.. and then practice and practice it again... everybody knows, but not everybody can... and the more you wait, the bigger your fear becomes, stress grows..

  10. fear leads to inaction and inaction is the opposite of success.

    fear, unlike failure, will not lead you down the road to achievement. it doesn't teach you anything. it is not part of the process. it's just a flat out deal-breaker.

    overcoming fear is embracing your true potential and moving forward in an inspired manner.

    great post again, Mr. Gage. keep them coming!

    have a great 4th. all the best,
    MS

  11. Randy - get out of my head. I was just having this discussion with a few people regarding escapism. I had an AHA moment the day after I broke up with my boyfriend. My boyfriends have all been escapists and all choose to cope with life using the exact methods - drugs, alcohol, and sex (of varying degrees)... then when their car breaks down or some other fixable event happens, they really can't cope - so they put off doing what they need to do - sinking deeper into negativity to get away from what needs to be done. And up until this point, I guess I've been an escapist too because I've allowed myself to put up with the problems (stressing myself out in the process) instead of just ending the relationship and finding someone who is more in control of himself to be with. (AHA moment number two). I guess I just found out why I continue to attract this type of person.... At any rate, great post. Keep 'em coming.

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  • 18 comments on “Fear That Stops You”

    1. Randy, what a timely post! I was just talking to a friend last night about fear and it holding people back. Fear also holding me back.....from....well, leaving comments on blogs like yours. Fear of putting yourself and your thoughts "out there" for everyone to see has been a fear of mine. I am working to overcome it. And yes, my fear seems to be worse than the actual blogging!

    2. Wow Randy! That's what I needed to read today... I always procrastinate things I don't want to do, and then I'm getting more and more frightened to do them, feeling buterflies in my stomach... Next time I'll think I'll place this phone call or write that letter later, I'll think of you and what you said about our fears stopping us.
      Thanks for touching a raw nerve!

    3. Randy...I came across a great quote/observation on fear from a book I read about ten years ago. It was "Feel the fear and do it anyway!" Obviously, this is concerning the debilitating type of fear rather than the WISE type of fear for a dangerous situation. I have applied it myself many times. Like when I signed up to do my first half marathon. I was quite concerned that I wasn't trained enough, too old knees, blah-blah-blah. So, I just sucked it up, acknowledged that I had fear about this, refused to say I "couldn't do this" and then just went out and did it anyway. The feeling of accomplishment was fantastic!

    4. Well interesting you should bring this up. As a child my folks sent me to Dr. Frankenstein, DDS and needless to say I developed a huge fear of dentists. The result was not properly caring for my teeth as an adult, and it got to the point where I needed some serious work done. I was in fear about it for the past 18 months, and then I decided to take the bull by the horns, and get it done.

      I went to the dentist 2 days ago and did it. As I heal now, I'm confident my health will improve, I'll attract a great woman and Life will be better overall. Yes, fear can really get in the way and even cause health problems.

      Thanks Randy.

    5. Tinha muito medo, de abrir meu negocio proprio, conseguir abri, mas é muito complicado, como é dificíl, mas estou seguindo seus conselhos, religião, dizímo, pensamento positivo. obrigado

    6. Great post Randy. Nine times out of ten I act straight away and dispel the fear. But there is the odd time when something holds me back. Not sure yet what but am working on it. So its great to get your post which nudges me to think a bit more..
      Have a great weekend
      love Angie :))

    7. "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."

      I think de-cluttering is like this... do it fast and get the pressure off. Clutter is negative energy ... the sooner you get rid of it, a great weight lifts off your shoulders.

      I also think it helps just to take care of your own clutter (other adults can take care of their own...and I am not a parent but I amguessing parents would teach kids to de-clutter their stuff.)

      thank you!

    8. I love the quote about taking immediate action to get rid of any fear you're feeling.

      Personally... I get physically sick before I do things I fear. 2 big fears I've conquered lately were public speaking (actually... my first time public speaking - I ended up on stage 4 times in the same weekend... and ended up loving it) and scuba diving, which I just did 2 weeks ago.

      My next stop is skydiving 🙂

      I don't have any problems getting myself to OVERCOME whatever fear I feel... however, I can't figure out how to not actually get sick over it. It's really weird and I actually make jokes over it to my wife - but can't figure out how to make it not happen!

      Any suggestions Randy?

      Jeremy Reeves

          1. Hmm... yea maybe I can try doing some visualizations or something like that and seeing everything "going perfectly"... and of course feeling myself with no nausea 😉

            I'll try it out next time I'm going to do something like that

    9. Randy, great post!!!
      /Would be nice to get more posts on how to overcome personal weaknesses & build character - i guess you have great experience to share with others/
      ....I think about fears - its most important/difficult to START to do, what you are afraid to do.. and then practice and practice it again... everybody knows, but not everybody can... and the more you wait, the bigger your fear becomes, stress grows..

    10. fear leads to inaction and inaction is the opposite of success.

      fear, unlike failure, will not lead you down the road to achievement. it doesn't teach you anything. it is not part of the process. it's just a flat out deal-breaker.

      overcoming fear is embracing your true potential and moving forward in an inspired manner.

      great post again, Mr. Gage. keep them coming!

      have a great 4th. all the best,
      MS

    11. Randy - get out of my head. I was just having this discussion with a few people regarding escapism. I had an AHA moment the day after I broke up with my boyfriend. My boyfriends have all been escapists and all choose to cope with life using the exact methods - drugs, alcohol, and sex (of varying degrees)... then when their car breaks down or some other fixable event happens, they really can't cope - so they put off doing what they need to do - sinking deeper into negativity to get away from what needs to be done. And up until this point, I guess I've been an escapist too because I've allowed myself to put up with the problems (stressing myself out in the process) instead of just ending the relationship and finding someone who is more in control of himself to be with. (AHA moment number two). I guess I just found out why I continue to attract this type of person.... At any rate, great post. Keep 'em coming.

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