Fear Lies Don’t Listen

by Tess

 

Fear lies,don't Listen.

Guest post by Trent Hand 

She was so pretty; everything from the way she smiled at me to how she struggled to speak English. 

Maybe that’s a weird way to start a story, so let me back up.  I was volunteering at Conversation Partners, a group with the purpose of helping immigrants practice their English.

On this particular night, I was seated across from three middle-aged Chinese men, doctors who came to America on academic visas for joint research on cancer.  These were very friendly, intelligent men with a strong desire to improve their English, and I wished to help them.   The problem was how distracted I had become.

Behind me, I kept hearing a young lady speak with the most adorable accent.  After every few words, she would pause, as if really considering what she had to say, before continuing on.  When I happened to catch her eye, she smiled politely at me. 

I’m not one to believe in love at first site because love is something which develops and grows over time.  Even so, I was definitely smitten.

At the end of the evening, the host asked her to stand up and introduce herself.  Her name was Cigdem (pronounced “Cheedum”) and she was from Turkey. 

I was ecstatic!  I had just found a great Turkish restaurant not far from my house.  I didn’t need to think of a pick-up line at all.  She was probably missing food from her home and I could help her out. 

With all the confidence of a sure-fire plan, I walked up to her with a big smile on my face.

“Excuse me, did you say you’re from Turkey?”

“Oh yes,” she replied “Turkey.”

“I’m not sure if you know this, but there’s a great Turkish restaurant not far from here.”  I smiled the smile of a guy who knows his plan is working.

“Ah, Anatolia Turkish Restaurant?” she asked.

“Um, yes, do you know it?”

She smiled sweetly, with all the innocence of someone having no idea she was being hit on. “Yes, I work there!  Did you like it?”

I had no idea what to say.  My brilliant plan had backfired, and I was without a back-up.  I mumbled something along the lines of “yes” and walked away, embarrassed. 

In my head, all my thoughts were on how terrible and stupid I had been. 

“She probably thinks you’re an idiot.”

“Why would a Turkish girl care if you’ve heard of a restaurant?”

“She’s probably laughing over there with her friends about it right now.”

“You always say the dumbest things with girls, and now you’ve blown your chance with her.”

There were probably a dozen more, but you get the point.  For all intents and purposes, I had missed my shot with her and now I would be alone forever.

This is how fear gains power over us; by lying.  Whenever we are afraid, our minds come up with all sorts of crazy ideas and predictions.  We start viewing the world as a harsh and scary place, full of enemies and obstacles.  We see monsters in the closet and devils under the bed.  None of them are real, but in our minds they might as well be.

There is only one way to overcome fear I know of: action.  Since fear is an illusion, something that exists only in our minds, we cannot overcome fear by thinking.  Thinking about what you’re afraid of will only lead you to greater levels of fear.

I realize that acting is often easier said than done, so I will leave you with a formula gathered from someone much wiser than myself: Dale Carnegie.  I’ve been using this formula for the past four years and I can honestly say fear no longer stops me from trying anything.  I still hear the lies of fear, but they no longer influence my decisions. 

Here is the formula:

Step 1: Analyze the situation honestly and figure out what the worst possible outcome can be. 

When you take a step back and think about what is the worst possible REALISTIC outcome, you will understand that most situations aren’t life or death.  If you have bad news to report to an angry boss, the absolute worst thing which can happen to you is you will lose your job (and the angry boss).  You can recover from such an event.

Step 2: Accept the worst possible scenario as having happened already.

Once you have thought about the worst case outcome, accept that as already happened and then think about how you would handle that.  In the case above, you lose your job.  You will probably go home, freshen up your resume, and start looking for employment. 

Within a short amount of time, you will have another job, hopefully with a less angry boss.  It’s inconvenient, but in the grand scheme of things you will be okay.

Step 3: After accepting the worst case outcome, calmly devote your energies to improving on that scenario.

If you’ve already accepted that the worst possible scenario is for you to seek a new job for the next few weeks, anything better than that is a reward. 

If your angry boss yells and throws a tantrum, it’s okay; at least you didn’t get fired.  The other advantage when you accept the worst case is you can’t be bullied. 

If he threatens to fire you and that doesn’t scare you anymore, what can he do to you?  Now, you can approach the situation calmly.

This process of thought should take you no more than five minutes.  After that, you MUST act.  Begin step three immediately and start to take action which can improve on the worst case scenario. 

You will find the odds of the worst case outcome happening are very slim and more than likely the entire situation will blow over without any real impact on your life.

I thought about this process after walking away from that pretty girl.  I realized the worst thing that could possibly happen if I talked to her again was an awkward conversation with someone who wasn’t attracted to me.  I could survive that.

I decided to talk to her again that night.

We are now planning our wedding for April 23rd

“I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

The words of Mark Twain are true for most of us.  Our fears project outcomes that we will never face.  By following the formula above, you never need to worry about falling for the lies of fear.

Never listen to the lies your fear tells you; you are stronger than you could possibly believe.

Let me ask you something: what have the lies of fear kept you from trying?  Please leave a comment below and we’ll see if we can overcome that togetherJ.

Trent Hand is an author, investor, and coach specializing in overcoming self-limiting beliefs and pursuing lives of passion.  You can find his latest book 10 Days to Your Magic Life on Amazon and visit his blog Magic Life Network.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Garner January 31, 2013 at 7:14 am

Hi Trent,

Great article. I know a friend that could really use this and I’m going to send them a link. I’m sure I could use it as well so I’ll add it to Evernote!

Thanks,

Dan @ ZenPresence
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Trent Hand February 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

Thanks Dan! I’m glad this article is helpful for you. Thank you for spreading the word!
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Tess The Bold Life January 31, 2013 at 8:01 am

Dan
Thanks for support. I need my own posts as reminders;) Have a great weekend.

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Sandi Amorim January 31, 2013 at 10:54 am

Great story and even better outcome Trent!
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Trent Hand February 1, 2013 at 8:18 am

Thanks Sandi,

I’m quite pleased with the outcome, myself. The fiancee isn’t always happy about it though ;) .

Trent
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David Rapp January 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Great article. I am REALLY struggling with fear on several fronts, and have been reading a lot to get some kind of fresh perspective on things. The Fear cycle is so frustrating to me, and I feel like my own resources have failed. Thanks for all the help.

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Trent Hand February 1, 2013 at 8:22 am

David,

I struggled with the same issues for years. This story is really toward the end of that journey (not that it’s completely over). You might enjoy “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. Also, my book “10 Days To Your Magic Life” could help you out as well. If you go to amazon Today or Tomorrow, there’s a free copy. That will end Saturday. If you would like any other help, please feel free to reach out to me personally.

Trent
Trent Hand´s last post…Quit crying!!! Great Advice from Les Brown…

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Ben January 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Wow Trent, that is awesome that you didn’t listen to that fear and went to talk to her again!

It’s amazing the thoughts our mind can come up with when we have fear, but really most of them aren’t even true as you say.

Good inspiration for others thinking of talking to a cute girl they see. :)

-Ben
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Trent Hand February 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

Thanks Ben,

That was easily the best decision I’ve ever made, talking to her again. It’s been two years and I still can’t believe I almost let her pass me by. She’s a great reminder that I can get a lot more by being brave than from being scared :) .

Trent
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Cathy Taughinbaugh February 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Hi Trent,

Great story and congratulations. That is good that you listened to your heart instead of your fear. Always hard to put yourself out there in those types of situations, but you did it and now you have a wonderful outcome. All the best.
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Trent Hand February 2, 2013 at 4:10 am

Thanks Cathy!

I will agree, I have received an awesome outcome from overcoming that particular scary fear.

The amazing part is that I have been in so many other situations since then when I used this process, and things always work out when I act instead of listening to my fears.

I’m glad you like the story. Thank you for your kind words.

Trent
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Chris Akins February 2, 2013 at 9:16 am

Trent,
Great post about fear. I wrote a long time ago about my experiences at Marine Corps OCS and TBS while I was a Midshipman at the Naval Academy. While there we went through a number of assault/obstacle course, one of which was called the Tarzan course because it was made up of ropes and nets that were suspended in the trees. It was a scary course because there were no safety nets, and at times you were looking 20ft down to the forest floor while navigating the course.

Anyway, the drill instructor kept shouting “Fear will get you hurt” at us as we navigated the course. What I learned from it was that I could do a lot more than I thought I could do if I could learn to manage irrational fears. I believe that fear is a useful emotion. It is a reaction to a perceived threat or danger that is intended to heighten our awareness and quicken our decision making. However, when fear becomes paralyzing, it loses its value.

I have found that one of the most effective ways of managing fear is, when I recognize that I am becoming fearful, to stop what I’m doing and take a few deep breaths. The breathing calms me, and more importantly provides the oxygen to my brain that I need to think things through and counter any irrational thoughts. Sometimes I find my fears are rational, and I can take appropriate action. Other times I find that my fears are not so rational, and I move on.

This is the “stop-breathe-think-act” model taught to rescue divers. And for me it works.
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Trent Hand February 3, 2013 at 2:10 am

Chris,

That’s an awesome story in itself.

I was an Army man, myself, and I remember the obstacle courses. I always enjoyed them the most, though there were some scary times. I almost got stabbed in the back during bayonet training (by accident, I hope). I didn’t have to swing from that high in the air. I would imagine once the fear left you, it was a lot of fun.

Breathing is always helpful. When I become anxious, I turn on 20 minutes of rain sounds and then focus on my breath while listening. You are right; by the time I finish the 20 minutes, my head is so much clearer. Thanks for the feedback.

Trent
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Sandra Pawula February 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

What a sweet ending to a story that served us with so much wisdom!
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Trent Hand February 4, 2013 at 12:30 am

Thanks Sandra!

I’m glad you enjoyed the post :)

Trent
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Alice Summers April 4, 2013 at 4:34 am

Indeed, fear is the greatest lie of all. Good read, Trent!

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Trent April 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

Thanks Alice! I hope you enjoy more to come. Keep up the music!

Trent
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