Fear is an emotion. It’s an emotion that is intended to keep us safe. Fear was never intended to keep us from fulfilling our dreams or our desires. If you’re in the midst of an adventure or thinking about attempting something great, here are some thoughts on how you can push fear off of a tall building.
Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing the word fear bantered about more than is probably necessary. Fear of failure, fear of man, fear of what “they” might think or “what will they say if?” I’ve even heard fear of success mentioned.
Two types of fear
- Healthy fear – the emotion of fear that keeps us from physical and emotional harm is healthy. The fear of being pushed off of a tall building, the fear of handling a poisonous snake, or the real fear of loosing a loved one. This emotion of fear is real, and is a mechanism of self perseverance.
- Unhealthy fear – such as the fear of man or the fear of failure, is the fear that keeps you exactly where you are. If you can’t push through, over or around this fear, you’re probably happy in your current situation. And maybe that’s okay for you.
Healthy fear is good, and I am in favor of it. It’s the unhealthy fear that we need to understand and deal with if we’re going to move ahead in life.
Lies, lies and more lies
Where does unhealthy fear really come from? I believe it comes from your enemy (the dream stealer). This is actually good news, because your enemy can only supply your mind with lies. So, unhealthy fear is a lie. These lies are provided specifically to keep you immobile. Your enemy understands that, when you act, there will be a positive result. That’s bad for him, but good for you.
Who is this enemy?
The enemy looks differently to different people. Maybe it’s a brother-in-law, or co-worker who scoffs at you and your dream saying, “What makes you think YOU can do it?” or “I knew a guy that tried that and he went broke.” Or maybe, it’s a well meaning parent or family member, “Honey, we just don’t want to see you waste your education trying that (fill in your dream or idea).” I talk more about ideas and dream stealers in this short post.
Your enemy’s goal is to keep you right where you are, and using people you have relationship with can be an effective tool, if you let it be.
Pushing fear off of a tall building
You get to choose what you think about. Unhealthy fear is internal, it takes the form of thoughts, and you have control over what you think about and dwell on. If you choose to think on those things that do not matter, you will stay immobile. If you choose to dwell on what does matter, you allow yourself to move ahead.
Here is an example from my life. Your actual mileage may vary.
Things that do not matter to me:
- What people think of me* – I realize that they’re not thinking of me, they are thinking of themselves.
- What people think of my dream or idea – I think people are not thinking about my dream, they’re thinking about how to make their house payment.
- What I think people think of me – I can not control what people think. It’s hard enough to control what I think.
- What people say about me – Really? This isn’t high school.
Things that do matter to me:
- What I think – I decide what I think about and dwell on and I think about the positive.
- What I say – I determine the words that I speak aloud, and I determine that they will be encouraging to me and others
- What I do – Only I get to choose what I do, and I choose action.
- Who I share my dreams and ideas with – I need my wife and close family in my corner, cheering me on. I choose to share my ideas with those who are invested in me and will encourage me.
*Sanity check – I have to be careful in my use of the term, “I don’t care what people think.” I care what my wife and my close family think. I go to great lengths to “consider” and be “considerate” of others’ thoughts, emotions and feelings. That’s called honor and respect (and leadership). The same is true for other close personal relationships. Let’s not confuse “honor, respect and consideration” with “I don’t care what people think…” They are two different animals.
I’m not trying to oversimplify fear in our lives. We all come from different backgrounds, family and life experiences. It is, however, my hope that you accept fear for what it is, and where it comes from. I encourage you to push unhealthy fear off of a tall building and move forward on your adventure.
Do you have an unhealthy fear? How can I encourage you with the truth and help you move your dream or idea forward. Leave a comment, let’s discuss.