I used to think I didn’t have any fears. I’m not afraid of snakes, or the dark and I enjoyed jumping out of a plane! Surely that’s all there is to be fearful of in life?! As I’ve got older and wiser (and wrinklier) I’ve realised there’s much more to be afraid of. Well actually, there are a lot of things to be afraid of. However, they all fall under one of the following categories:
1. The fear of poverty.
Hey Mike, how about giving up 5 days a week so that you can have 2 days to do what you really want? Oh, and can you do this for the next 50 years of your life?
If someone actually asked me this question, the only response I could think of is “are you crazy?” However, why is this something that so many of us do? The answer lies in fear number 1. The fear of poverty. We fear that we won’t be able to afford to eat or have a roof over our heads if we don’t (or go on that holiday to Benidorm).
Name one of the most successful individuals in the world. Think about what they do or did. Chances are that this person is not super successful because they had a job for 50 years. Unless it’s the Queen (although I’m sure she is very good at something) they will almost certainly have created something (business, art, music, books etc.) or be exceptionally good at something (sport, selling, investing etc.) This doesn’t happen by chance and it certainly doesn’t happen from giving up 5 days a week to a job. These people don’t trade in days to avoid poverty. Every day they are doing what they have chosen to do and they probably don’t live in poverty because of this choice.
I am aware of this but it doesn’t mean I will just quit my job tomorrow. I enjoy my work and I learn a lot from it. What I have found interesting from reading about successful people is that they all have a purpose*. I know it is crucial to find my purpose in whatever it is that I’m doing and the more purpose we have in our lives, the less we will fear poverty.
*Purpose could mean a number of things. Passion, meaning to life or the thing we are meant to do etc.
Some guy called prince ea will explain this one:
2. The fear of criticism.
Without a doubt, this is the most common fear that I have. In a previous post (click here to read more) I wrote that worrying about what other people think is something that has prevented me from doing what I have wanted (or needed) to do at various points in my life. Just by recognising this though I have come some way to alleviating this fear.
I used to say that I’m not very good at listening, and I actually used to laugh about this. However, I have started putting a new habit in place. When people talk to me about something that I don’t understand I will now ask them what they mean, rather than pretending that I understand quantum physics (or whatever it is they are talking about). It’s actually quite amazing at how much courage this takes to do this. By doing so, not only do I end up understanding something much better, but I can also ask the other person better questions, which means I also listen better. I’ve also written about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable before (click here to read more).
Some of these things may seem small or irrelevant, but they have helped me to not worry about what other people think as much (or more accurately what I think other people think).
3. Fear of ill health
I don’t personally fear this one too much. Being active and enjoying sports has always been “my thing”. We have also learnt a LOT about nutrition in the last couple of years, and I’ve always had an interest in food (because it’s so tasty and I like to eat it).
I can see how much some people do fear this one though. There are so many people that are on a “diet” or are worried about becoming ill. I’m not a doctor, psychologist or scientist but I’d like to think I know quite a bit about preventing illnesses instead of curing an illness. Obviously, anyone can become ill with something out of their control but if it’s not in my control then it’s not worth me worrying about it.
4. Fear of loss of love of someone
This is something I’m sure everyone fears. Since I’ve known Sarah I can safely say our relationship has got stronger and stronger. We have learnt so much and both made many mistakes over the years. However, without a doubt the biggest antidote for this fear is trust. From my experience trust comes from communication. It may have taken me a while to realise but there is nothing that I will not tell Sarah (whether she wants to hear it or not!)
5. Fear of old age
Never gonna happen… Next!
Well obviously it’s happening all the time, but I guess exercising and eating the right foods will slow the process down. Age is just a number anyway right?
6. Fear of death
The reason we are taught to look before we cross the street. Or why I jumped out of the plane attached to some guy with the parachute. Or jumped off Auckland bridge with a bungee rope wrapped around my legs. I may have said at the start that I enjoyed it, but there are no two ways about it. I felt the fear.
I’m sure a good faith or belief in a religion can help to reduce different fears. Personally, I find that meditation and being aware of my own thoughts and feelings is half the battle with dealing with each fear. I will continue to look out for my own fears as it is only possible to remove something if you know it is there. But as I said already, if you can’t control it, why worry.
Napoleon Hills book, “Think and grow rich”