March 18th, 2010 – Fear as Fuel

You are on the road traveling home.  You have a strong desire to get there to relax or cook dinner or prepare for the weekend.  Early in your journey, you hit a roadblock – there’s a tree in the road.

What would you do?

You would probably find an alternative route to travel.  You may even have to go back down the road a bit to find a detour.  But ultimately, you find another way home because that is your goal.

So here’s the question: why don’t we do the same with other goals?  Whenever we hit a road block with other goals, we end the journey at that spot or we go back to where we started – and stay there.

Fear is one of the most powerful road blocks.  It is an emotional reaction to a perceived threat.  A good example would be if a barking dog was running toward you.  There’s a strong possibility this dog will attempt to bite you.  But there’s also a possibility that the dog may just be happy to see you. It can go either way.

Fear can be a good thing.  Many people have a reverential fear of God – out of respect for his power.  Fear is a bad thing when it STOPS us from working through a process or task.  Remember, that threat is a perception based reaction – and it may not be real or justified.

Fear is sometimes described using an acronym –

False  Evidence that Appears Real

I once worked with someone who had a fear of vegetables (Don’t laugh!  This was real to her.)  She did not eat vegetables out of fear.  As someone who has dealt with fear many times in my own life, and as someone who has helped others work through their own fears, real or imagined, I knew this was not a good place for my friend to be in.

  • This fear was preventing her from eating a balanced diet – something that is a necessary part of life.
  • She was starting to raise a young son.  Fears are sometimes passed down to the next generation.

So my question to her was what harm did she expect vegetables to do?  It turned out there were a couple of issues at hand.  One was just a language difference.  She really wasn’t afraid but just didn’t like certain vegetables.   Corn was acceptable (even though it’s a starch).  The other issue was with textures –which is understandable.  I don’t like cooked cabbage because it feels slimy but I’m not afraid of it.  In terms of the fear, there really was none.  It was really an issue of preference.  To confront the issue, I started off by preparing a vegetable soup for her to try.  It took her awhile but she was able to consume the whole bowl.  Next, I took her to a vegetarian restaurant.  Through trying some different dishes and focusing on the flavors and health benefits, she was able to increase her list of vegetables she would eat and enjoy.

The best way to deal with fear, real or imagined, is to use it as fuel.  Let it empower you instead of incarcerating you.  You control it instead of it controlling you.

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