Anxiety, stress, and nervousness. Three words that my friend Dr. Robert Maurer would surely call “adulterated words for fear”. Could it be that we’re too afraid of fear to call it by its name?
Fear, as we’re taught in psychology 101, is one of the basic human emotions. I like to call it the ubiquitous emotion. It originates from our fight-or-flight response, a brain mechanism installed to keep us from being eaten by a bigger predator.
But in our 21st Century modernized world, how much of our fear is actually adaptive? What percentage of the fear you experience each day actually helps you escape a real danger? Not much. So then what percentage is not adaptive? 90%? 100%? What are the fears that hinder you from doing, saying, even feeling, what you really want? Have you named them? Are you aware of them?
I think understanding and resolving our fears is one of the greatest challenges we face. Particularly for my generation, young people building new careers in what could only be called a difficult economic climate. Fear is everywhere. It’s in the media, politics, business, communities, and in every single human heart you’ll meet. That’s why I think it’s better to embrace it and talk about it, rather than deny it or silence it.
There’s a lot to be said about mitigating fear, but for now let’s start with just a few of my favorite resources for overcoming fear:
1. fear.less is a free online magazine that empowers people through unique stories of overcoming fear. From entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists and scientists to survivors of extreme experiences, these stories demonstrate the hidden potential we have to confront our fears and come out victorious. Click here to download the new May issue.
2. I also recommend On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington, arguably one of the most courageous women of our time. (That’s not an affiliate link, just a book I like.) Arianna takes an intimate look at how she overcomes fear in every area of life: career, motherhood, politics, and more.
3. One of the best discussions of fear I’ve read is Robert Maurer’s One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. When all else fails in conquering a fear to make a positive change, Kaizen works because it circumvents our natural fear of change. (That was also not an affiliate link, just one of my favorite books.)
Wise Words on The Ubiquitous Emotion
“Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.”
- Henry H. Tweedy
“He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (my emphasis added)“Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.”- Arianna Huffington