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.