Category Archives: Fear

Dance With Fear: Embracing Your Fears to Reach Your Potential

We all should embrace our fears of risk taking in order to meet our full potential. The problem, most people don’t.

Risk creates fear for many people because there is always something at stake, and because of that, their minds automatically go into the stage of “what if’s” and “I could fail”.

The issue with this train of thought is that NOTHING in life is guaranteed (even the safety net you may currently be in). To a degree, everyone and everything is interchangeable. You may think you are sitting comfortably in your job today but get laid off tomorrow. The worst thing you can do is be complacent — to float through life just to get by. And maybe some of you do and that’s completely fine because that’s your own decision. But for those of you who want to be great, you need to take chances … you need to take calculated RISKS. You’ll never know your limits and you’ll never know if you can succeed unless you venture out into new territory.

When you make calculated risks, you open yourself up to more opportunities, creativity, empowerment, confidence, and most importantly, break free from the average way of thinking/living (this is where breakthroughs come). Welcome fear, it’s a wonderful thing!! When you get that itch in your body from fear, it’s usually a sign that you’re on to something remarkable.

So instead of getting anxiety from taking risks, EMBRACE it. Dance with it. Use fear like fuel, and let it guide you toward some of the biggest rewards you’ll ever see…

by Chris Garafola, Founder of Stop Breathe Bump.

sbb
http://www.stopbreathebump.com/
“Life is too short for bad music.”

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As I Walk Through Fear

Growing up I was nervous kid, full of anxieties and self-esteem issues. It was difficult growing up. I had a great family and I didn’t want for anything. Still, something inside me was definitely wrong. I was angry, sad, scared and lonely. I can remember a particular day at the babysitter’s after school. It was twenty minutes after the scheduled time my parents were to arrive and I had a panic attack. My blood ran through the roof. My sick and twisted mind at that time told me that my parents had died in a car crash. I couldn’t get the image out of my head. I know I cried uncontrollably until my parents finally came. I remember that day because of the very real feeling of fear that had totally dominated my body and mind. It grew steadily and steadily until I was incapacitated. What caused that fear? Was I just an anxious kid? Overly nervous? Crazy? I just couldn’t figure it out and neither could my parents. On my first day of kindergarten I threw up all over the front steps. As I progressed through middle school the fear was kept at bay but only just. I had some really good friends that I could play and hide with. I could forget for awhile. The time did come however when I would be alone and vulnerable and the fear would enter me fully. I would stay up late hiding beneath my covers. Every kid has “afraid of the dark” fear. Mine was absolutely terrifying. I didn’t even dare look out my window lest a demon with red eyes and dark fangs would spring up from under the still and kill me with his stare (true story). I am overweight and have danced with this problem for years. During school, especially middle school, I had to undress in front of other boys in the locker room before practices and what not. I would not do it. I would duck into shadows and blanket my self-consciousness with the firm plastic of the bathroom stalls. I was picked on for it, but the alternative I thought was worse. I played hockey which helped with the weight problem but I wasn’t very good. I skated with guys always wanting to be special. I had a huge ego for such a self-conscious person, kind of ironic.

High school came around and things became easier. I walked onto the varsity ice-hockey team which gained me instant “cool” status. Even though I didn’t play a lot, I still felt like I had finally arrived. I was getting attention, had a gorgeous girlfriend and even picked on a few kids. There were times however when my emotions and fears were on high. My girlfriend cheated on me and I freaked. The old horrors came back. I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t a man if I couldn’t keep a girlfriend, I was fat, blah blah blah. Eventually things smoothed out and I graduated from high school and enrolled at a local private college. In January 2003, my best friend in the world was killed by a drunk driver. He had been walking with another student who died as well. When I found out, my world shattered. If I had been anxious and fearful then, I was downright terrified now. I drank heavily. Too much for such a young body. Booze helped hide the fear. I was never really good at drinking, but I did it all the same. I drank everyday, all day. If I wasn’t an alcoholic then I don’t know what I was. When I stopped the terror was so real that I would not sleep for days, I couldn’t go to work, I could do nothing except drink more. I never drank for pleasure. I drank to escape. I feared death more than anything. I feared letting go. I could easily have killed myself if I had the courage to, but I didn’t. I was broken. I was booze soaked and doomed. I dropped out of school, got a job, lost the job, got another and lost that as well. I was a walking shell of a man.

Sooner or later, I snapped out of it. It had to stop. I ventured into Alcoholics Anonymous via rehab. They spoke of a higher power there. This fascinated me. I not only saw people living without fear or worry, I saw people seemingly happy. At that point I could give a shit if I was happy or not. The fear portion however intrigued me. I’m an agnostic and have no idea of who or what “God” is. The bible speaks of “God” as a man. If that be the truth then I could not claim Him. Already I began to rebuke. If God was a man, then men rule over woman which would be completely against equality and supreme happiness right? Still even more powerful, I was given a choice in my conception of God. Higher Power is used often in the realm of AA. I wish it was used more often elsewhere. As I worked the program of AA, I realized that I would soon confront all of these fears head on. It was terrifying!

Throughout history men and women speak of “walking through fear”. Classic good versus evil stories have that like idea. The famous FDR quote makes it plain and simple: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” When looked at from an outside perspective I realized that fear was irrelevant. I heard a man speak on alcoholism and about fear (he will remain nameless). “I was full of fear. What I had to realize is that that fear wasn’t real. It’s a manifestation of other feelings that create fear. It’s a jump off point to instant catastrophic results. Fear is a reaction. Like cause and effect. Fear is the bi-product of sin.” I soon realized that at that moment, I had ceased to live in fear. I would just try like hell too be good. I am not perfect and I continue to sin, but I now know that the fears I have, is because of my actions. Fear is generated only because of my doings, these are my fears and mine alone.”

I certainly woke up right there. It made complete and utter sense to me. I was the master of my own fears. Fears do not originate. They are created by human action, by my actions. I approached this man who had just broken open my mind and let me into the light. I asked him how to live without fear. He said it was easy. I didn’t believe him.

– Find the people you’ve wronged
– Make it right
– Become spiritually centered
– Place your needs and wants second
– Help your neighbor
– Ask for help

The world today is filled with fear and bitter resentment. Waring ideologies, poverty, politics, jihads, bigotry, oppression etc. I took me a long time to understand fear. Sometimes, I do welcome a healthy dose of fear to let me know that I’m still human and can make mistakes. The things that the man instructed me on are simple and true facts on altruism. The definition of altruism is as states;

– Loving others as oneself.
– Behavior that promotes the survival chances of others at the cost of ones own.
– Self-sacrifice for the benefit of others.

These definitions may seem extreme but definition number three is the most important. Self-sacrificial practices in a “practical use”. Helping the neighbor with their groceries, taking your nephew to school, instead of buying something for yourself that you most likely don’t need, buy something for the needy guy you passed on your way to the dept. store, drop a twenty dollar bill in your needy co-workers coat pocket. These are just some types of self-sacrifice that altruism calls for.

The Beatles said, “All you need is love.” I believe that is true. Love is the opposite of fear and the cure. True, unhampered, unselfish care for others will cure the everyday fear that crushes millions.

“There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, “This isn’t the way.” And this morning, I think of the fact that our world is in transition now. Our whole world is facing a revolution.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are a lot of great things to take from that quote. We live in a world of take. There is no give. If we reprogram ourselves to give, this world would be less fearful. It’s a no-brainer.

Give yourself a break, fear sucks. Help somebody else out today and I guarantee your stress levels go down. Concentrate harder on helping your family. That’s where real fearlessness lies. It lies in love for another.

by Anonymous

Wake Up: Living With Renewed Purpose

“Sometimes everything needs to be inscribed across the heavens, so you can find the one line already written inside you.” – David Whyte

Wake up. This prison you’re in isn’t real.

The pain that surrounds you has caused you to see in only one dimension, and the time to restart has come. Sometimes, we need to reach the brink of chaos and destruction to realize just how deep we’ve dived down the rabbit hole. Sometimes, we need to experience the cumulative pain our decisions have caused before we can truly believe our time for change has come.

Progress is hard, and at the end of the day, it’s a personal choice.

Look inside your heart, and see – no, feel the man you wish to be. Compare the discrepancies between your ideal and actual self. What is your most limiting characteristic? What are the steps you need to take in order to improve? What are the road blocks that are preventing you from guaranteed success?

Fear will prevent us from striving towards what we want most. Whether it’s too hard, it’s too scary, or it’s too much; fear will always prevent great ideas from becoming great realities. Tackle the traits, one by one (in order of importance), that are condemning you to a mediocre existence.

Don’t expect too much too soon. Time is finite, and so is our energy. So focus. But don’t get burned out. Keep it fresh, and keep it fun. Sustained determination is the only fix for the obstacles you will undoubtedly face on the way to fulfilling your destiny.

Without action, thoughts lay dormant and useless. Write, talk, and craft content. We must create momentum. Remember that actions lead to results. Results lead to belief. And belief – belief has created all there is in this world worth seeing or feeling.

Don’t feel selfish for wanting something more. You were born to be something more.

The Key To Becoming Legendary

I enjoy studying legendary people who started from the bottom and whose wildest dreams have come true. I find their paths to success fascinating, and I have constantly wondered for as long as I can remember what makes one man more capable than the next. When I study the commonalities amongst greats, one trait stands out to me more than any other: mental toughness. The ability to endure mental and physical pain by passionately focusing on the ultimate goal is difficult and rare.

I wonder if these unique individuals were born with this skill or if it something they acquired. How can each one of us work to strengthen our mental toughness each day? Not dissimilar from physical training, practice and pushing ourselves enables us to go a little farther, be a little better, and accomplish a little more each day. Our tolerance for pain goes up, and what we considered impossible previously becomes the ordinary and expected.

Each day, we have the ability to focus our energy on anything we choose. Of course we have jobs, children, obligations, and responsibilities. These are unavoidable, but there are still moments in the day when we have time to ourselves. Wouldn’t training our minds to get more out of the finite energy we have be a wise investment? If we can learn to absorb the stresses and failures of life more effectively, wouldn’t this lead us to living fuller and happier lives?

This Forbes article outlines six elements of mental toughness that one can develop in order to become more mentally tough. If you’d like, try consciously implementing one or two in your day-to-day to see if it has a positive effect.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/17/executive-mental-toughness-leadership-managing-athletes.html

“Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.”

– Bill Russell

Learning To Win & The Virtues of Failure

Today I took a minute to think about the goals that are written on my wall by my bed, and more importantly, what am I going to do today to become closer to achieving them. I realized in that moment that goals are not always achieved instantly, that it’s unrealistic to expect favorable results every day. My recent “failures” to my surprise, have not felt like shortcomings, but rather events that have made me even hungrier to achieve those goals. So what does that mean for someone one like me, someone who is goal oriented, ambitious, impatient, and likes to “win”? I decided to explore the definition of “goal” and “win”.

Goal- “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”
Win- [be successful or victorious in a contest or conflict; to acquire or secure a successful result in a contest, bet, or endeavor]

You may be asking “so, what..?” If you are lucky enough not to have been subject to a philosophical discussion (a.k.a. argument) with me, then you may not know how much I like to win. That feeling of victory, superiority, success and/or adequacy. Interestingly enough, the obvious fact that winning at everything is not realistic can still be a hard concept to come to terms with. Failure is just as much a part of life, progress and everyday life as “winning” is. Sure it’s easy to laugh at yourself for silly failures such as running into a screen door, but sometimes it’s hard to shake those failures that relate to your goals or interests.

I’m learning it’s important to understand what failure means in the overall process. Not only do you learn about what went wrong during failure, you also learn about yourself, people and the world around you. Sometimes the only way to learn (e.g. realize you weaknesses), is through failure. The old adage my parents used to throw around, when I would argue that my failure was in-part from their lack of guidance, comes to mind: “[We] could tell you until [we’re] blue in the face and you still wouldn’t have believed [us].” In that way, failure (personal and sometimes shared) is an intimate experience. It’s a unique experience that differs from person to person. Even in team sports, like basketball, failure is not completely shared. Sure, everyone on the team feels the general effect, but the exact meaning of that failure differs from person to person. From a recent failure, I have realized that goals can be won.

Goals maybe not be achieved today, tomorrow, or exactly when you would like; but if you use your ambition and focus your effort towards your desired result (goal) every day, you are winning every day. A win may be finite, but winning is state of progress that leads to victory. And when the day comes that the road of progression has ended and your goal has been achieved, in that moment, you’ve won.

by Kyle Paya, Four4Life Soldier