Nothing to fear…but fear itself?

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It’s not easy breaking through habitual patterns. Especially in the beginning it can in fact be quite challenging as fears rise up. But, you’re better and bigger than your fears and in fact you can tell your fears, “I’m becoming more effective, so hit the road.”

When we’re scared, we usually try to speed up, feeling that we’re in danger. Follow the fear down to its illogical conclusion, which makes it easier to dispute it. It’s very challenging to slow up when every instinct says ‘speed up’ – but every time you do it, slowing up gets more familiar and easier – one of the key principles of persistence. Effort bequeaths long-term rewards, not just immediate rewards.

Slow up on something that doesn’t matter first, like washing the dishes. It may help to say to yourself, “I only have this moment. I’m going to take my time here, and notice as much of this process as possible. I want notice everything in a relaxed way – how the water lands on the dish, soap bubbles, the music playing in the background.” If you can get to this place, you’re enhancing your happiness, you are savoring.

However, you may also notice fear yammering away that, “this is stupid, I don’t have time for this, there’s no way you can enjoy this, speed up and get this unpleasantness done.” Since this is a low-stakes situation, it’ll be easier to honestly categorize your thoughts as fear or enjoyment.

Fear tells you that you have to speed up, that you don’t have time. I know, I hear this voice more or less every day myself. It says there’s too much to do to enjoy life, to savor what you’re doing. Who wants that life? Not me!

Fear and play don’t mix. Fear and passion don’t mix. Fear and purpose and fear and persistence are grim mixes. Monitoring these areas can tell you quite a bit about whether you’re in charge or fear is in charge.

Try your own small ‘nothing to fear’ experiment and let me know how it goes! Perhaps FDR was right – perhaps there really is nothing to fear…except fear itself.

This entry was posted in Passion, Play, Purpose, Persistence, Put It Together, Training, Positive Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
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