As part of our business growth, my business partner and I started a reading program to continue our learning in the field of business and personal development. I picked up The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D., and I haven’t put it down. It’s one of those books that you can pick up, choose any chapter, and learn something new that pertains to your life. I highly recommend that you find a copy of his book and read it.
Fear. It’s Real.
For this blog post, I want to focus on fear. It’s real. It can consume us, destroy our future, ruin relationships; you name it…fear can destroy it. I would like to consider ways to defeat fear. Dr. Schwartz states, “Fear of all kinds and sizes is a form of psychological infection. We can cure a mental infection the same way we cure a body infection – by specific, proved treatments.” How exciting! There’s an actual process to cure fear and it’s not one of the old adages like, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” This is the genuinely good stuff.
Build Confidence, Destroy Fear.
Dr. Schwartz created a simple two-step action to overcome fear. The first thing I noticed was that fear is a learned behavior, so we have to unlearn it. A habit is not easily broken. We have to take it by the hand and walk it gently down the stairs and then out the door.
Here’s the two-step process that Dr. Schwartz teaches:
1. Isolate your fear. Pin it down. Determine exactly what you are afraid of.
If you’re facing a fear or some fears, here’s what I’d like you to do, get a piece of paper and draw vertical line down the middle to create two columns. Now, at the top of the page, draw a horizontal line – your paper should look like a big lower case “t” on your page. On the top left, above the line and to the left of the vertical line write “Type of Fear” and on the right side of the vertical line write, “Action.” Then, I want you to list ALL your fears underneath “Type of Fear.” Get them all out on the page, no matter how silly or far-fetched they seem. Write them down.
2. Take action. There is some kind of action for any kind of fear.
Now that you have all of your fears written down, I want you to focus on the right side of the page, the “Action” column. Dr. Schwartz states, “Action cures fear.” So I want you to focus on taking action, and the first step is to fill in an actionable task for each fear that you listed. Just fill up that right column with any actions you can think to take, no matter how small they may be. This is the first type of “action” you can take, and it will get the flow going.
Now that you have finished your list, you must be decisive, “…hesitation only enlarges, magnifies the fear.” Take action promptly. To do this, Dr. Schwartz recommends replacing your negative bank of thoughts with positive ones. Let’s say that your mind is a bank and whatever you deposit, whether positive or negative, sits in your account and accrues interest – positive or negative interest. To build a positive bank, you must replace the negative with positive thoughts and then only add such positive thoughts into your account. That way, you only withdraw positive thoughts.
It takes practice and a consciousness to cure our fears, but practice makes perfect, right?!
Mark Nepo states it best in his poem, Free Fall:
If you have one hour of air and many hours to go, you must breathe slowly.
If you have one arm’s length and many things to care for, You must give freely.
If you have many doubts and One chance to know God, you must set your heart on fire.
We are blessed. Each day is a chance. We have two arms. Fear wastes air.