Fear setting - Don't let fear cripple you
Fear setting - Don't let fear cripple you
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Fear is a major component of one’s life. Its an annoying companion yet it is here for the ride. Fear is looking at the future and see what will go wrong. What if my business fail ? What if my husband leaves ? What if Isis strikes ? What if I get sick ? What if I get rejected ? What If I end life as a failure?
So much of our lives are lived in this constant state of worry and anxiety. The price you have to pay for living with those emotions might be too high. Your ego is writing cheques your body can cash. It is all about our scared and fragile ego.
During ancient times fear had a purpose. It was here to prevent us from getting eaten alive or survive natural disasters. Nowadays fear is very much manufactured and fabricated. First by society and the media then by our own minds.
I am not trying to cast any aspersions nor deny any conspiracy theories. It is neither here nor there in this discussion.
The medias will do what they do which is try to get viewership and audience. The media will turn the info into something that will get your amygdala hooked. Fear is one of the greatest ingredient to get eyes and clicks.
Why start a business ? 9 out 10 fail. Why go approach that woman? She is most likely going to reject you or even worst slap you ? Fear paralyses us and prevents us from actually doing what we really want to do. How much are you holding back just because of fear ?
Are you starting sentences like “oh I wish I could do this or that but I don’t think it can work out ?” How do you know it won’t workout ? Do you have foreseeing abilities ? Probably not, but fear has made your vision skewed and has prevented you from seeing reality as it is now, not as how you made it out to be.
The greek philosopher Seneca used to say that we suffer more in imagination than in reality. Those timeless words are deep in meaning. We exaggerate things in our minds and forsake reality as it is.
Seneca also said : “He who indulges in empty fears earns himself real fears”
I will illustrate this point with a few example.
When I was living in Shanghai a few years ago. I started seeing this girl. We were both really into each other. After a few weeks we were eagerly calling ourselves a couple, boyfriend and girlfriend.
I was feeling quite fragile at that time. I was isolated and depressed before I had met her. Things in my life were not going so well and I felt distraught. When she arrived in my life, she felt like a breath of fresh air. Things went great for a time but at one point my attachment to her, led to my fear of losing her.
Before that I was being the ideal boyfriend but then fear came along and change my demeanour and behaviour. All of sudden I was clingy and needy, and obviously she started backing away, till one day, she had enough and our short lived relationship ended, all because I had let fear rear its ugly head.
Now let me tell you about a few scenes from the old show named Kung fu, with famous actor David Carradine. The story takes place in the Shaolin temple. A young discipline eager to learn more is put to a test by his old blind master.
They find themselves in a secret room hidden from the rest of the monastery. In this room there’s a big pool of liquid. A plank was set from one extremity to the other in order to walk over the pool, which evidently was a pretty easy task.
The liquid that filled the pool was not water, it was acid. You could see skulls and bones floating in it. The master told the young disciple, that in a week, he would have to walk this plank and try not to fall in the acid and die.
The boy was scared, terrified.. He did not want to be another skeleton swimming in the pool of acid. The master gave him a plank of similar length and size to practice on the ground for a week.
It did not take long for the young boy to perfect his plank walking, then the day of the test came. Now it was time to prove himself worthy of the Shaolin teachings. He started walking, one small step after another but he could not contain the fear that was growing inside his mind and body.
He started losing balance. He was stumbling and barely walking straight anymore.. One awkward step followed by another till the inevitable happened.... He fell.. The splash resonated throughout the room and all you could hear after that was the old Master laughing out loud.
The acid was actually water, much to the young disciple shock and surprise. The master then looked at him and said : “You see young grasshopper for a week, you could walk back and forth on the plank without any problem. Once you thought that the pool was filled with acid. You turned scared and fear failed you”
In his short story "The masque of the Red death", Edgar Allan Poe wrote about the devastating plagues in Europe during the Middle ages. In his story the different demons are gathering to report to one another. Those demons are the ones spreading the plagues all throughout the continent.
One after the other they brag about the number of people they have killed. They asked one of the demons who came back from Paris :
-How many have you killed ?
-I killed a few thousands
-How many have you killed ?
-I just came back from London and killed about 500.
Then they turned to the other demon who had just come back from another European city ;
-What about you ?
-I killed about 50 but fear has killed in the thousands.
As you see from those 3 anecdotes/stories, fear is pernicious. Your fear can manifest itself if you don’t stop and take another direction.
Fear can paralyze and destabilize your body as you have seen in the scenes of the Kung fu tv show. Fear can make you worried and push you to behave in a way that is unattractive, as you have seen in my unfortunate love story.
Fear can also kill you as you have seen in the Edgar Allan Poe short story. Obviously, it is a fictional piece but we all know cases where fear, anxiety and worry has led people to death.
Some doctors can predict with almost 100% accuracy who is going to survive a cancer and who is not.
The attitude is so important. If you are starting to fear for your life and believe that this is the end for you. Guess what ? It will most likely be. To ignore real danger is wrong. But it is also wrong, as well as unhealthy, to be immobilised by excessive worry and fear for the unknown.
Of course we need to be cautious in life. Being a daredevil is not advisable. We need not fear the world. Fear put our body and mind in a negative unwholesome state of being which translates as being tense and most often leads us to making bad decisions.
What we need is to respect the world and its risks. We need to know that shit can happen. Businesses can fail, relationships can end, catastrophic events can occur and accidents can happen.. Of course we need to be aware and vigilant but we need not fear those events because as I wrote above, we tend to bring them about in our reality by fearing them.
When we know the risks and consequences we can be aware, be respectful of the world and make better decisions and behave in a way that is most likely to prevent any or less negative outcomes in our lives.
Have you heard of the worry table ?
The table was designed to clearly make a separation between real concerns and fabricated concerns.
Worries about disasters which, as later events proved, never happened. About 40 of my anxieties.
Worries about decisions I had made in the past, decisions about which I could now of course do nothing. About 30% of my anxieties.
Worries about possible sickness and a possible nervous break breakdown, neither of which materialised. About 12% of my worries.
Worries about my children and my friends, worries arising from the fact I forgot these people have an ordinary amount of common sense. About 10% of my worries.
Worries that have real foundation. Possibly 8% of the total.
You see most of our worrying is just a smoke screen. Of course those percentages can vary from a person to another yet the percentage of real concerns will still be significantly low. We can let it fade away once we understand that those concerns hold no ground.
Now let’s talk about those legitimate worries. Sometimes in life you could be doing everything right and shit will still happen. We need to remember that all clouds have silver linings. I mentioned my relationship failure. It did hurt a little bit but the pain did not last. The lesson I learned, however has a lasting effect and I am a better man for it.
During the blitz in London, the city was bombed by the germans everyday yet the Londoners who lived throughout those times, look back with nostalgia because the relationships and bonds between people were strengthened and the care for one another was at an all time high.
Remember not to put fear between you and the present moment because that’s where you create bad outcomes and karma. Once you understand there is nothing to fear even fear itself. You can put compassion, gentleness and kindness between you and the present moment.
It takes laying a brick at a time to build a house. It takes one moment of peace at a time to create the house of peace, so build your palace of peace.
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