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Leadership Thought #316 – Manage Your Fears

March 12, 2012

Free Afraid woman on urban bench in winter Stock Photo

We must learn to better manage our fears.  However, you cannot blame people for being afraid.  About every commercial and news program taps into these fears daily.   When you scare people by tapping into their fears, it is easy to manipulate them. I just heard a radio commercial where the financial advisor was warning of a financial Armageddon in the next 12 months.  What nonsense.  I simply changed the channel in disgust.

There was a time in the history of humans where being afraid daily was understandable.  Our survival depended upon it.   As a result, our brain is hardwired to be responsive to perceived threats.  However, it has been thousands of years since our daily lives were threatened in this manner and most of the fears, we confront these days are self-imposed and non-lethal.

The first step in any recovery process is self-awareness.  Is the amount of fear or anger (which is typically the other side of fear) you are dealing with on a regular basis manageable or not?  Is it adversely affecting your life in any way?  If so, how?  Try to imagine what your life would be like without these fears.  Next, try to identify what is triggering these fears.  Are there certain stimuli such as specific social situations, individual personality types or media programming which activate these fears?  Is it possible to avoid these situations or at least put them in proper context?  If not, how can you grow as a person and gain the skills necessary to adapt when these things happen?  Finally, ask yourself how reasonable and realistic these fears are given the current situation.  Are your concerns proportionate to the actual expected outcome?  What is the likelihood (most often exceedingly small if at all) of a worst-case scenario and what would you do should this happen?

Don’t let fear or anger rule your life.  Don’t let others use fear as a tool to manipulate you.  I realize the journey may not be an easy one for some of you and could involve some major therapeutic work on your part, but it will be worth it.  Most of your fears will never happen and if they do, the consequences will be much less severe than you think.   Live your life courageously and don’t avoid taking risks.  There is some truth to the statement, “What doesn’t kill me, only makes me stronger.”  In life, bravery and a commitment to personal growth and development is always rewarded.