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Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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Dig Out Fear By Its Roots

(Full disclosure: I’ve been struggling mightily to grow a couple of tomato plants so I may be blogging about all manner of gardening metaphors over the next month or so)

dummyIf you were to build a fear detector, what would it measure? Probably things like body temperature, pupil dilation, perspiration, the scent of certain chemicals or pheromones in the human body. Pee.

Then when you present your subject face to face in a dim room, with the most horrifying thing in the world (which I have on good authority is a ventriloquist dummy) you can tune in your fancy fear detector and get a reading.

Then you can get all kinds of creative with ways to measure fear.

  • For example, put the ventriloquist dummy on the back of the bathroom door, so that when someone goes in to brush their teeth, they spot it behind them in the mirror (fear level 3).
  • Suspend it by wires above their bed while they are sleeping so it is hovering over them, staring at them when they wake up (fear level 7).
  • At your buddy’s wedding, when the priest says “you may kiss the bride,” and behind the veil: ventriloquist dummy! (Fear level 9).

So when I talk about rooting out the source of fear, am I talking about mulching your ventriloquist dummy? No, although I’m sure it would happen after any one of those scenarios.

The ventriloquist dummy is not actually the source of fear.

Because if you put the dummy in an empty room, and give him a pair of bloody machetes and the spookiest dialogue ever written… your fear detector still reads a zero. Therefore the fear originates somewhere else.

This whole dummy conversation has been a long, roundabout method of explaining that fear is in the mind.

Thought is the source of all fear.

That’s why babies are fearless when it comes to ventriloquist dummies, even though they should be terrified.

So, since fear originates in our thoughts, how do we root out those fear thoughts?

The less effective way is to think your way through them. To ponder, to rationalize, to intellectualize. Using thought to fight thought is like using fire to fight fire.

Words are much better at overcoming thoughts. We can overcome fear thoughts by verbalizing our defeat of them.

When you are confronted by a machete wielding ventriloquist dummy, just say to yourself, “Hey you’re head is made of plastic and even though you are the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen, I know that you can’t walk and are only standing in the hallway because someone crammed a broomstick up your bum and I can walk right past you and turn my nose up at you as if I were a rich socialite and you are beneath my notice.”

Your fear will disappear as you talk your way through it.

This process is not limited to overcoming your fear of dummies. It is actually a lot more useful at overcoming social fears, those things that we as adults have learned to be afraid of.

If you have been dreading making an important phone call to a client, talk yourself into dialing: “This is an important call to an important client and I will definitely not get this account unless I call and make a great pitch and I’m picking up the phone and I’m dialing the number and I’m smiling… Hello.”

What fears have you been allowing to fester in your mind, when you can be carving them out with the power of words?

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The Problem With Your Confidence-Building Plan

confidenceWe naturally feel trepidation whenever we are confronted with a new task. Well, perhaps “naturally” isn’t the correct word since one-year-olds don’t have the same hesitancy. In fact, that nervousness is something that is a learned trait. Perhaps because we get laughed at or ridiculed when we fail at something as a child. Or maybe because we actually get physically hurt attempting a task. Whatever the cause, we (two-years-old and over) somehow develop this feeling of trepidation when we are confronted with something new.

Because we seek to avoid failing, falling, or fumbling, here’s how we normally seek to confront that mysterious new “thing” in our path. First, we want to build up our confidence. Second, we want to develop some skill. Third, we want to attempt it. Then finally, we achieve the results or success that we are looking for.

The problem is, the real world doesn’t work that way. You never develop confidence in something until after you do it. You certainly don’t develop skill in something until after you try it a few times. So, here’s how that process should actually look:

Step one, start.
Step two, increase skill and confidence.
Step three, results.

Do the thing and you will have the power. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You need to put the action in first before you begin to develop skill and confidence. Increased skill and confidence can accelerate your passage from step one to step three. But until you actually put some action in to initiate the process, you are just idling. And idling always increases fear and trepidation (I really like the word trepidation).

Sometimes you will fail, fall or fumble. Any failure is a lesson in how to achieve success on your next attempt. Any fall is a signpost on where to step carefully next time. Any fumble is a reminder to keep your eye on the ball. Each attempt increases confidence on the next attempt. The only time that failure is final is if you QUIT.

So don’t try to gain the confidence first to do the thing you’re been waiting on.

Do the thing.

Get the power.

Nine times out of ten, your fear will disappear the moment you start. More of us are held back by fear of failure than by failure. The only thing that can build up your confidence, is action.

Just do it. ~Nike, Roman Goddess of Victory

What have you been postponing or procrastinating on this week?


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Passion Overcomes Complacency

A human being will not take positive steps to improve their life for one simple reason: it is easier not to. All improvement requires change, and all change meets resistance. The only time there will be a change in the status quo is when desire overcomes fear and laziness.

passion
Today, I’m writing specifically for those people that have a vague idea that they would like to improve their life in some way, but have not yet taken proactive steps toward that idea. Either because they are scared to attempt it, or not motivated to try. These are five steps to develop a passion to overcome complacency.

1. Have a goal. When you create your goal, be specific. Not: Lose weight, make more money; instead: lose fifteen pounds, earn an extra $1000/month. Not: Be more social; rather: meet two new interesting acquaintances. Little goals are fine. Start small. Everything worthwhile begins with small improvements, and the idea of a “quantum leap” to success is largely a myth.

2. Write it down. And keep it posted someplace where you see it every day. More than one spot is fine as well. The bathroom mirror is a good spot, because it is usually the first place you see yourself in the morning. So is your car dashboard if you drive every day. Your refrigerator door if you eat every day. Keep a copy in your purse or wallet.

3. Think about it all the time. Visualize yourself having already achieved your goal. Experience the emotional satisfaction in having achieved it. If you have to set aside an alarm clock to remind you to think about your goal for fifteen minutes every day, do it. All I’m asking you to do is daydream; even the most fearful and lazy person could do this step.

4. Self-Talk about it. First you should talk about it with yourself. When you are looking at your bathroom mirror first thing in the morning, you should say to yourself “I will lose fifteen pounds,” “I will earn an extra $1000 a month.” But the next step is the most crucial and the one which will eliminate most people from progressing any further.

5. Talk about it with people that matter. This is the first step that involves anything resembling risk, because someone may tease you. If your passion to achieve your goal is not greater than your fear of being teased, then your future is sabotaged right here. That’s why you should only talk about your dreams and goals with “people that matter.” Who are those people? People that can help you and people that will encourage you. Avoid negative people like lepers. If someone has an attitude that you don’t want to catch, stop associating with them. Period. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps, but why would you want to hang out with someone that belittles your dreams? Small people want everyone around them to lose so that they can remain comfortably losers themselves.

I stole this quote from a businessman named Bob Kummer:

“The Bible states that Samson killed a thousand enemy soldiers with the jawbone of an ass. Every day, hundreds of people have their dreams stolen from them by that very same weapon.”

These are baby steps for developing a passion towards positive change. The more you think about it and talk about it, the more your goal begins to focus into a crystal clear image. When it begins to move from your head to your heart, you will develop a desire to achieve it; and when that desire–your passion–is great enough, it will give you the courage to overcome fear and the urgency to overcome laziness.

All achievement is accomplished twice. First in the mind, second in the body. So talking and thinking and imagining your way to success is not a waste of time. It is in fact a vital first step. Once you’ve gotten this far, you are literally halfway towards fulfilling your goal (and further than any of those negative “friends” have ever gotten).

Next post, an Action Plan to convert your goal into reality.