“Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll
Your ignorance of a particular situation can cause a lot of fear. We work from the information we have and when we have limited information, we feel the tension and become insecure in taking the necessary actions. Why do people fear leaving an abusive relationship where they are insecure, very unhappy, and trapped? It is the lack of information or awareness that they can start and make a great life for themselves and those around them. In one of my seminars I met a very beautiful lady who felt that her mission in life was to support her husband in achieving his dreams. I was quick to say that it is a mistake to think that way and believe there is more for her to do than live her whole life just being a support to someone else. I asked her what made her think that she was born to be a support for a guy she met and got married to. She said that she strongly believed that she was born to be a wife and a support for her husband for the rest of her life. I thought, fair enough, if that is what you believe and what you are going to do, just go ahead and live that way. The relationship fell apart; the man disappeared, left a lot of debt and, after many years, had to be located from where he was hiding. This lady’s life was shattered and she is just beginning to put her life back together. For many years after the husband’s disappearance she believed that one day they would come back together again. Are you in a relationship going nowhere? My suggestion is to stop looking at all the things you will lose and start focusing on all the things you will gain when you get out. When you only focus on the negative outcome from a decision, you will not be able to make the right decision to move ahead in your life.
There are millions of people around the globe who are afraid of starting their own businesses for fear of losing their capital. Some are afraid of writing that book, composing that song, or auditioning because of the fear that they might fail or not make it. I have a relative, and will call him Peter for the purposes of this story, that is doing menial jobs in the evening and is afraid of reaching out to look for other well-paying jobs. Though Peter is being treated poorly in this organization, he is afraid of leaving for fear that letting go of this job will mean he will not get another job. Ignorance of the fact that there are other jobs waiting for a person like him has kept him trapped in this job. I hope you are not like Peter. I also know another lady, let’s call her Lucy, who is brilliant and can take on various jobs. Her problem is the fear of paying the price to invest in herself so she can earn more, do more and be more.
Lucy has settled into a simple job making little money and working tons of hours each day. Fear has kept Lucy in her present job. I hope you are not like Lucy. Ignorance or lack of awareness has kept thousands, even millions, of people in jobs that they hate for fear of losing those jobs. When you have limited information, you tend to be insecure, don’t make the right decisions, and keep yourself trapped and stuck when you could be enjoying great success if you would just step out and do what you want to do.
The fear of change and transformation has caused the demise of large companies we have heard of in the past, like Kodak, Compaq, EF Hutton, MCI WorldCom, Enron, Woolworth’s, Pan Am, Author Anderson, TWA, The Pullmans Co., General Foods Corporation, Standard Oil, and others. Fear of personal change has caused various people to remain in the same place in life even though they don’t like it. The fear of the unknown has held many people captive and reduced these people to a life of survival when, in effect, they can do more and be more with their lives.
Begin the process of naming your fear. Gather adequate information in the area you want to improve or take action, then take that action. You will become confident and start taking action when you name your fear, analyze the fear, know the source, gather information on alternative actions, and take that action. When you know the reasons for the fear, then you are poised to do what you have to do to move ahead. Get into the habit of asking yourself the question, “What am I afraid of?” As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear; mastery of fear is not absence of fear.” Remember, we are all afraid of something so you are not alone. What is important is identifying the fear and doing something about it. This is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. When you develop courage to take action in spite of fear, you will surely achieve massive success.
Get into the habit of confronting your fears and your fears will diminish. Your self-esteem, self-confidence, self-image and self-concept will be on a high swing when you learn to do things even when afraid. Alternatively, when you fail to confront your fears you will be moving yourself very far from achieving your goals. Begin right now by identifying all your fears, the source of these fears, analyze what is causing them, write down how these fears are holding you down and back. Don’t keep your fears – smash these fears and do things afraid.