Missions

How to overcome fear?

Have no fear, but for fear itself“. Wiser words have not been written.

A thirty authors wrote the books of the Bible – and what is the one command that comes back most? Over anything else? 365 times? “Fear not”, “do not worry”. 

This in a rough time, when few could write, fewer still had the luxury of time, parchment was extremely expensive and carving in stone exhausting. Can you imagine the urgency, the seriousness? That this is what they wanted future generations to know? It sounds as: “Do not get malaria”. “Do not throw an atom bomb on yourself“.

For, yes, that is what fear is. The worst possible virus.

But there you go, you have it. Now what?

FIRST, know its advantages.
Fear is a handy tool. If you had none, you would walk from one ravine into the next one.
But it’s also just that. Like guilt is but a lesson (“don’t do this again“), fear is only a lesson and tool in the toolbox. And then you put it back.

SECONDLY, recognise it. 
Know that what you are doing, you are doing out of fear.
When you think that you are just angry, furious, hateful or jealous, chances are pretty high that it’s actually fear.
Fear for your safety, your job, your finances, your social standing, anything under the sun.
Write down what always seems to trigger you, and detect the fear in the middle of that web.

THIRDLY, embrace it.
Once you know what your fears are, it is much easier to deal with them.
Your hearts starts pumping, your blood boiling, your body shaking? Ah, wait, it’s because of this or that particular personal fear.
From an immense and incontrollable storm, you bring it down to the bit of wind that it actually is.

FOUR, don’t create scenarios. 
There you go, into a sleepless night imagining scenarios.
In 90% of the cases, they are obsolete. Sure, tomorrow will give you problems, maybe even big ones, they will just not be the ones that you imagined. It was one night long waste of time.
In the 5% that the scenario was justified, you have worn out yourself so much, that you wouldn’t even be able to cope with a tiny issue, forget about that problem.
And then there’s the 5% chance that the problem will occur, right because you triggered it by expecting it.

OK, I pull these percentages out of thin air. Or am I? I am, after all, 52 years old and a renown worrier and impulsive problem creator. You probably talk some 20,000 hours of practising fear and worries. Some waste of time that was!

FIVE, see the bright side. 
You have people who see problems, and people who see challenges, and people who see fun hurdles.
Why would a 100 pound teenager start taking on 1000 pound bulls? In a silk suit on ballet shoes? Because it’s amazing. It tests and trains him or her unlike anything else. They just need it. Yes, even flirting with the knowledge that they won’t be on this planet very long.

OK, that’s the extreme. People confronting their fears, jumping out of that airplane, going for that wilderness trip on their own. But you get the point. “Worry, bring it on, you are but one step in my grand game of Monopoly. Every battle I lose, brings me a step closer to the ones I will win”. 

What good is life, be it as sports, cinema or university, if you don’t get at least a few major problems?

Yes, you are fearful, and so what. It’s also a feeling, also an emotion and also an experience and moment in life. Do you really only want to have the comfortable ones? What kind of movie is that?

SIX, everyone is in the same boat. 
Everyone has got fear. Be it all different fears. That the boat is too big or too small, the sea too rocky or too much standing still, it doesn’t matter. Everyone around you has got fear. You are not alone, nor does your fear overrule the fear of others.

It is, after all, only fear. Nothing to worry about.

Ben

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