WHAT IS FEAR?
- Fear is a biological instinct that prevents us from doing stupid things that might kill us. For example, fear kicks in with good reason when we see a slithering snake or look over the edge of a cliff.
- Fear is a spirit (False Evidence Appearing Real)
Examples of fear: –
- Fear of speaking in public
- Fear of height
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of flying
- Fear of spider or snake
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of death
- Fear of lack or inadequacy
While fear works to prevent us from physical pain, it can also hold us back from the chance at the pain of a crushed ego and the exhilaration of victory and success. Hence the Bible say “God has not giving us the spirit of fear but of love, of power and a sound mind” Imagine the power or effect of fear. In order to counter it, God gave us three things to nullify fear – Love, Power & Sound mind.
The knowledge of the character of a person or a thing helps us in knowing how to deal or relate to the person or thing.
Characteristics of Fears
- Fear is irrational. Even though no one can ever be fully rational in their choices and behavior, but every man should strive to live with reason and ration as his guide.
- Fear is cowardly. William Shakespeare said “Cowards die many times before their death but valiant never taste of death but once”
Every man seeks to be brave and courageous. But we often try to frame our fears in ways that either soothe our egos or camouflage them in wisdom. We say that things like:
- I’m being prudent or cautious.
- It’s not important to me.
- I’m just a little nervous.
- Fear robs you of your integrity. Integrity means behaving in a way wholly congruous with your beliefs and values. But when you want to do something that you believe is the right thing to do, but fail to do it because of fear, you violate your core values – your N.U.Ts. Living true to your principles will always involve a healthy measure of overcoming your fears.
- Fear pushes you from the driver’s seat. A man is the captain of his own destiny. He makes the choices and chooses the roads that lead him to his goals. But a man ruled by fear abdicates his captain ship to his fear. He gives his fear the steering wheel. Fear turns analysis into paralysis and makes coward of men
- Fear leaves regrets. A man does not dwell in the past. He learns from the past, but never let it hinder him. But if you allow fear to keep you from seizing opportunities that comes your way, you will inevitably look back, kick yourself, and wonder why you let fear have its way with you.
- Fear slows down your personal growth. A man should always be striving to improve himself, to be a little better than he was the day before. But there is no growth without risk. But note that improvement does not equate comparing yourself with another man (Bible calls that foolishness). Rather, the one and only competitor you have is the man in the mirror; that is the man you need to be better than.
How to Overcome Our Fears
An Irish poet – Brendan Francis once said: “Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” We need not live our lives captive to our fears and insecurities. You can, through your will, become the master of your fears.
- Change your perspective on fear. Fear is only a negative thing if you believe that it is. For instance, is the pain you experience while working out a negative thing, or is it just the feeling of your body getting stronger? You can choose to think about it simply as the “pain” your body experiences as your character develops and expands. There is very little growth where there is no pain and work by elevating your vision and your perspective will change. Instead of seeing the tackling of our fears as nerve-racking, see it as an adventure.
- Change your perspective on risk. Differentiate between short term & long term risks. The root of our fear is our fear of trying something and crashing and burning.
- What if I get rejected?
- What if I fail?
- What if they laugh at me
- What if, what if!!!
These are short-term risk assessments. But in making such a short-term risk assessment calculation, you are leaving out the long-term risk, a risk that’s far riskier than any short term blow to your ego.
The long term risks are these:
- The risk of never amounting to anything – because you refuse to try.
- The risk of living a completely mediocre life – because you refuse to grow.
- The risk of looking back in 10, 20, or 30 years and feeling your stomach turn with regret – because you took the short cut.
- The risk of missing out on the experience and always wondering what it would have been like?
- Think about the great men of history. What we call personal fears and challenges can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. But with the proper perspective, they can seem rightfully manageable. The next time you feel paralyzed by a fear, think of the following courageous men of the past.
- Sir Edmund Hillary ascending Mt. Everest in 1953 – he said “People do not decide to become extraordinary. Rather they decide to do extraordinary things”
- Noah – build the Ark for 100 years without any knowledge of what is called rain. Imagine the mockery and ridicule but he kept going.
- The astronauts sitting in Apollo 13.
- Kill the fear with logic. As we mentioned above, fear is not a rational thing. The solution is thus to kill it with logic. The best way to do this is to ask yourself this question: “If I do this, what is the worst that can happen?”