Fear is the Key

I started writing this post about a week ago. My theme of fear isn’t that original, but constantly recurring in our thoughts. Since starting writing, two things have happened to me that have reinforced the stupidity of most of our fears.

Without going into the gory details, I had a biopsy last Tuesday for possible prostate cancer. I’ve had one before, and its precautionary rather than done with great expectation of having cancer. But the mere act of going through a very invasive procedure, and confronting the possibility of a life threatening disease does heighten your awareness of the fragility of life.

14 hours after undergoing the biopsy, my daughter informed us that our car was on fire. So at 4.15am, about 5 hours since last used, we waited for the fire brigade to arrive. This brief clip now on YouTube (where else!)  shows the demise of “Ethel”.

The loss of a car is insignificant compared with the loss of life and devastation to land and property in recent times, such as in Australia earlier this year. But the burnt out remains, with no discernible cause, were quite shocking to me. Also, had we parked the car in it’s “normal” place our house would have been well ablaze by the time the fire crew turned up.

How to Build Self Confidence

As I discussed in my last newsletter, I’m currently read Nathaniel Branden’s  6 Pillars of Self Esteem. Although rewarding, its not exactly a light read.  By comparison, last week I read the best selling Who Moved my Cheese.

I’m often fascinated by the juxtaposition of some of our experiences and what we see, hear or read. Our personal reflections on anything don’t occur in isolation.  For example, what we read links in with other things we are reading – your thoughts from one source can influence your interpretation of the other.

At the same time as my “Cheese experience”, I also read yet another annoyingly good article on Henrik Edburgs the positivity blog: How to Build Self Confidence: 6 Essential& Timeless Tips.

I do recommend you read the post, but here are the six tips:-

  1. Take Action. Get it Done
  2. Face your Fear.
  3. Understand in what order things happen.
  4. Prepare
  5. Realize that failure or being wrong will not kill you.
  6. Get to know who you are and what you want out of life.

The third point may seem a bit vague, but Henrik uses dialogue from a film to illustrate how fear comes first, then courage. And after doing something more than once, the scariness starts to wear off:-

It may seem scary now. But after having done whatever you fear a few to a dozen times or so you may think: “Is that it?”. You almost feel disappointed of how anticlimactic it has become. You may even get a bit angry with yourself and wonder why you avoided doing it for so long.

So in effect, half of the tips to Build Self Confidence look at facing fear, overcoming being scared, and not being afraid of failure.

Who Moved my Cheese?

What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.

car-remainsThe above quote is not from Henrik but Spencer Johnson in Who Moved my Cheese. This very short and easily digested book gives a story about change. How some people, with their set beliefs and behaviors, cannot (or will not) embrace change. And they become “extinct”.

Our emotions can complicate things and living in the “constant white water with changes happening all the time at work or in life can be stressful – unless people have a way of looking at change that helps them understand it.”

The book is quite simplistic, and I’m not saying its the answer to all lifes problems. But my take on it is how we take comfort and reassurance with what is familiar, and change at any level can be unsettling. Big change (its all relative to your own lifestyle) can be really scary, unless you change your attitude(s) towards it.

Throwing the Cheese book and Build Self  Confidence post together, as I did by reading them on the same day, you get a double whammy of fear. Two illustrations of how fear can mess us up. But if you then reflect on real life – tragedy, disaster, disease – none of which we tend to spend much time fearing.

I’m not suggesting you should switch your fears away from change, new things and  what people think of you to worrying about the possibility of fire or serious health problems. Worrying never solves anything – learn to problem solve. But such events can help put other fears in perspective.

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Beer Blog March 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Very inspirational, it is true if you change your attitude towards the fear it my not be a fear anymore. How did you car catch on fire?

Beer Blogs last blog post..O.K. Beer – Okocim

chicago cardiovascular consultants March 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

My Father is the administrator for retirement homes and he bought enough copies of “Who Moved My Cheese” for every employee. It was a really long time ago so I don’t remember it very well but it was a very powerful book, especially since my father bought so many copies.

chicago cardiovascular consultantss last blog post..How to Decipher Acid Reflux (GERD) from Heart Disease: Getting to Know the Symptoms

mercola March 10, 2009 at 7:22 am

Poor Ethel 🙁
Henrik’s self confidence tips are golden. Definitely worth a read.

mercolas last blog post..Dr. Mercola Shares the Coconut’s Numerous Health Benefits

Adam March 15, 2009 at 12:21 am

Really interesting read. What do you think was the cause of the fire?

Kris Costello March 16, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Great blog thanks! And I hope you stay well. The fear thing really hit home! Last week I was Interviewing a major figure in the health field for my Radio show. I was cranky all evening beforehand, as I felt that I had not prepared enough ahead of time etc… woke up the next morning to a news story on the computer that an asteroid had come dangerously close to the earth (45,0000 miles). Huh, I thought, what a waste if we’d been blasted the night before, all that worrying for nothing. Should have watched a movie and enjoyed the evening with my husband instead eh? Next time for sure….

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