The Only Three Things You’ll Ever Need to Know to Completely Crush Fear

Firghtened, Fearful couple | Crush Fear

Reading time 6 minutes

Fear is a sonuvagun. I have seen it talk smart men out of good decisions; I’ve seen it talk good men into bad decisions. For the bad rap it gets, fear really is a force to be reckoned with. But I know a little something about fear that helps me stay ahead of it. I don’t let fear lead me around by the nose. In this post, I want to deal with the one thing that keeps most would-be investors from being successful in this business. Let me tell  you how I manage, minimize, and crush fear. Forever.


#1 Fear Crushing Insight: Fear is good.

We’re all afraid of something. Even as newborns, we are wired to have two distinct fears: We are frightened by loud noises and we’re afraid of falling or being dropped. That’s pretty much it. Every other fear, we learn as we go. That’s not such a bad thing. Learning how to identify dangers is what keeps us alive.

For instance, as a baby grows from infant to toddler and starts making her way around the house, her parents will probably make it a point to teach her not to tamper with the electrical outlets. She may get warnings not to stand on the coffee table or not to open the oven. Eventually, the tot will learn that tampering with electrical outlets, standing on the coffee table and opening the oven pose dangers which may cause some sort of harm and she will avoid them.

Fear is good and its necessary. Think of it as your very own personal emergency alert system. You take in information about your environment, you make an assessment about what’s going on around you, then you come to a conclusion about the likelihood that you are in danger. If you don’t think the situation is dangerous, you won’t feel fear. If you do, you will.

Fear is designed to do one important thing and that’s get us out of harm’s way.

The only problem with that is we are the ones who determine what constitutes “harm.” More about that later.

#2 Fear Crushing Insight: There are different types of fear.

Before we get into the thinking behind fear, we first have to understand that there are different types of fear. Think of the fear you feel riding a roller coaster. When you’re speeding down the the backside of a 200 foot-high peak, most of us get a thrill, and depending on how our minds process the experience, we may interpret this thrill as fear. 

On the other hand, if  you happen to find yourself trying to outrun a wolf, that’s not really a thrill. That’s run-for-your-life fear. That’s fear at its best, doing what it was designed to do.

Here’s the thing though: We don’t spend a whole heck of a lot of time dealing with run-for-your-life fears, so many of the fears we experience aren’t tied to any actual threat. These invisible fears constitute the one gradient of fear that is most likely to keep us from achieving success. It is these fears we need to crush.

Let’s go back to our wolf example. You encounter a wolf, you get away safely, and two years from now, you’re sitting around the dinner table telling the new neighbors about your harrowing – and sometimes hilarious – experience. You  love telling this story. In it, you come off as a brave Marvel-type superhero and your spouse gets a kick out of peppering your story with witty commentary. If you happen to have a lot of these types of stories, you can get a reputation for being fearless and strategic. These stories will make you look like the Dos Equis man. No one feels bad telling awesome stories of running for your life and getting away, quite the  contrary! You feel great. You feel empowered. You feel like you’ve got life by the throat.

But let’s say instead of a wolf, your adversary was a great new business opportunity or a promising romantic relationship and you run away. What is the difference between running away from a man-eating wolf and running away from a great opportunity? The presence of actual danger.

So, let’s talk about the perception of danger.

#3 Fear Crushing Insight: Fear starts as a thought.

If you’re going to crush fear, you must recognize that every feeling you will ever have starts as a thought in your mind. Your thoughts determine your feelings. If you want to feel bad, think negative thoughts. If you want to feel good, think positive thoughts. We can’t always control what pops in our minds, but we control how much time we spend thinking about what pops into our minds.

When it comes to fears, you are the one who ultimately determines what qualifies as “dangerous” and if that danger should trigger your fear response.  When presented with that great business opportunity, if your reaction is to take yourself through a maze of negative thoughts, there’s a good chance you will trigger your fear instinct. If, on the other hand, you take yourself through a host of best-case scenarios, chances are pretty good that you won’t be afraid at all.

If you want to crush fear, you have to reconcile one very important truth: Your fears are your own creation.

The dividing line between constructive fear and destructive fear is the presence of shame. No one really thinks about shame when they talk about their fears, but if you’re dealing with an internal fear, you can bet dollars to doughnuts shame is that the bottom of it all. I don’t believe our natural disposition is defeat and fearfulness. I think we are naturally bent toward work and problem-solving.

But when we fill our minds with negative thoughts, we become problem-focused instead of solution-focused and our human spirit knows the difference even when our minds don’t. If we mentally classify something as a fear that our spirit recognizes as an opportunity, we experience dissonance in the form of shame. To justify its desire to be afraid,  the mind sets its sights on creating a mental inventory of all the reasons why what’s before us is a danger and not an opportunity.

Shame is a pretty keen indicator that you have misused the fear instinct.

In case you’re not quite sure what shame looks like, here’s a popular shame script we run in our minds:

What if I can’t figure out what to do? What if I can’t get backers or support? What if I can’t get funding? What if my spouse won’t get on board? What if it flops and I lose everything What if I can’t get any customers? What if I can’t get the prototype made? What if I can’t get the seller to go down on price?

If you notice, a shame-based mental script never really asks “How?” Shame isn’t interested in solving problems. Shame always assumes failure and keeps your mind focused on how you (and others around you) will feel when you fail. That type of shame-based thinking triggers the fear instinct by causing your brain to conclude that if you take the opportunity, you will end up alone. And as social beings, we are well aware that our survival is in numbers.

Are you beginning to see how this whole fear thing works?

Fear is a thought process. If you can stop for a minute to think about what you’re thinking about, you can crush fear every time. There’s nothing wrong with fear. It’s just that sometimes, we trigger a fear response without there being an actual threat.

My #1 strategy to help you crush fear is to take control of your own thoughts. You do this, and you will defeat your fears every time. What are your tricks for overcoming fear?

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