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Fearless Living: Do What You Are Afraid to Do

Fearless Living: Do What You Are Afraid to Do

What is your greatest fear?

Fear is a powerful emotion, and is the reason why most people don’t reach their full potential in life.

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As toddlers, before we took our first step, we all had the fear of falling. Imagine how terrifying it must be for a toddler to contemplate taking that very first baby step; most of us likely fell on our first try, but we took another step. and yet another, until we could eventually crawl, walk and finally run.

Imagine if we all never took that first baby step because of fear.

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It sounds unthinkable and yet a lot of us refuse to take that very first small baby step in our lives. We languish in one spot, letting fear take over our lives and condemn us to inaction. We deserve better. We all should lead fulfilling and productive lives free from the chains that fear uses to bind us, and the easiest way to get rid of fear is to demystify it. How do we demystify fear?

We demystify fear by doing what we are afraid of doing. Simply that, and nothing more.

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Recently, I challenged myself to do one bold thing a day. I would think of one thing I’m afraid of doing but would like to accomplish in a given day, and then I would set a goal for myself to do that very thing.

It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes I fail, but sometimes I succeed, and when I do succeed it is an amazing feeling. I am often shocked that I was able to do what I was so afraid of doing, and the resulting effect is like having scales fall from my eyes. All of a sudden, I see new vistas of possibilities, and I believe that I can do even more things that I never imagined possible. I set even bolder goals and keep failing and sometimes succeeding. Doing this frequently lets you realize that there is no shame in trying and failing. In a sense, we must fail in order to succeed. Just like we experienced as toddlers when trying to learn how to walk, we must crawl in order to eventually learn how to run. There is no shame in crawling, falling and starting anew—this is the only way in which we can grow.

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In doing this, I have also found that the most important thing is not whether I have failed or succeeded. The most important thing is that I am on my way to ridding myself of my fear of accomplishing that goal. It is like my first crawl. I might fall but after falling, I often realize that it was not as bad as I thought it would be and I keep crawling, until I start walking and eventually running. Everyone deserves that feeling of liberation- that feeling of being able to stare fear in the face and call its bluff.

The idea is to expose yourself to the potential of failing. By doing this, you reduce fear’s power over you as you are already vulnerable, thus greatly diminishing what you have to lose. The trick is in taking that first step towards taking risk in spite of fear. It’s a vulnerable state, but one that strengthens you over time.

Overcoming fear is one of the greatest battles of our lives. We owe it to ourselves to win daily small battles over fear. It builds endurance and removes fear’s power over our lives.

Wouldn’t you rather live fearlessly? I would. It starts today. Write down one thing you are afraid of doing and do it. If you fall, pick yourself up and try again. Do this over and over again until you defeat your fear of doing that thing.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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