A man wearing a GoPro camera strapped to his helmet was riding a mountain bike on a forest trail. Suddenly, a very hacked-off grizzly bounced into view, picking up speed with the obvious intention of cutting him off at the pass and having him for lunch.
The next video in my YouTube feed had a thumbnail image that read, “No Fear”.
Really? No fear? As in, none?
You can bet the dude on the bike had plenty of that stuff we're not supposed to have...you know..."fear".
Bumper stickers and T-shirts of all kinds, all over the globe would lead us to believe we should be fearless in the face of things that naturally scare the shizzle out of mere mortals.
We’ve had this pounded into our heads since childhood. There’s a playground name for it. At some point, you were likely called “chicken” or “scaredy-cat” on the playground by your peers. (Or was it just me?)
But is fear bad? Is it a sign of weakness? Should we really have no fear?
The biker’s fear and adrenaline fueled a herculean race for his life, which thankfully he won. I’d say fear served him quite well.
The Whole Truth
I believe the whole truth is, “Action in the face of fear”.
A drill sergeant once barked at his recruits, “Fear is wetting your pants. Courage is doing what you're supposed to do while wearing wet pants.”
“Fear is wetting your pants. Courage is doing what you're supposed to do while wearing wet pants.”
Zig Ziglar once said, “Fear is false evidence appearing real”.
Zig has given us an important clue here. It seems there are two overarching causes for fear.
The first is false evidence. It’s the painful future we imagine in our minds but isn’t real. It’s the bustling, snorting and grunting noises in the bushes that cause our minds to conjure up the grizzly bear in our imagination. It causes us to freeze or retreat. Then, with wet pants, looking over our shoulder at an opportunity passed, we see a friendly dog emerge onto the path we abandoned.
The second is real evidence. It’s the grizzly bear we see with our own eyes, right now, heading us off at the pass. That’s when, with wet pants and more, we (hopefully) fight for our lives. Fleeing might be perfectly appropriate here, too.
What To Do
As always, be careful and do not accept clever sounding quips, quotes, colloquialisms and public opinion as fact without questioning them. “No Fear” might not serve you well. “Action in the face of fear” might work better.
Psychologists Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels, in their book “The Tools”, tell us of a higher force that transcends pain, and could be helpful with fear, too. It’s a visualization tool they call The Reversal of Desire. Its purpose is to create forward motion in the face of pain.
Here’s The Reversal of Desire as described in “The Tools”:
See the pain appear in front of you as a cloud.
Scream silently at the cloud, “BRING IT ON!” Feel an intense desire for the pain to move you into the cloud.
Scream silently, “I LOVE PAIN!” as you keep moving forward. Go deeply into the pain until you’re at one with it.
You will feel the cloud spit you out and close behind you. Say inwardly with conviction, “PAIN SETS ME FREE!” As you leave the cloud, feel yourself propelled forward into a realm of pure light.
A final thought:
The most sought-after skill today is the ability to connect with and influence people, which requires a blend of emotional and cognitive intelligence and skills.
Our emotions are an important part of who we are, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be hijacked by our amygdala. Emotions have no discernment. That’s what our frontal lobe is for. It’s the part where cognitive thought happens—the part that makes us human.
Commit to investing just as much time in developing emotional intelligence and skills as you invest in academic or cognitive intelligence, and you’ll see both your goals, and the people who can help you reach them, draw closer to you.
Oh, and check with the forest rangers for danger before you ride. Carry pepper spray, and be ready to punch or peddle like hell if you or your dreams are under attack by the grizzlies in this world.
Want to know the whole truth about other important business and life topics? You might enjoy:
Half Truth #2: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” Why the whole truth is made up of both of these halves, and how to build them into the flow of your daily life for more peace of mind and productivity.
Half Truth #3: “Don't worry about what others think” While your ego might punch the sky and say "hell yeah!" when you hear this one, it really is only half true. Be sure you get the whole truth before you stiff-arm the people I point out in this post.
Want better control of money? Never fear:
Master Your Money and Improve Cashflow An online course I developed with my friends at WealthFit that walks you through, step-by-step, how to implement my cash-flow based budgeting system to improve your cashflow and get out of debt. In this course, you will:
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