In the underwater world, certain species of sharks have to keep moving to breathe. It’s the only way to bring fresh oxygen into their bodies. If they were to stop moving they would die.
Although we might not want to admit it, especially after spending an hour watching the movie ‘Jaws,’ we do actually have a striking similarity.
When we feel paralysed by fear, we tend to stop moving, the amount of oxygen to the system is reduced, and as we experience less oxygen, it puts more strain on our bodies and increases the level of anxiety we feel.
As it creates a build up of anxiety, panic, worry and confusion, we make the least productive and focused decisions from this state of mind.
Our inner state impacts everything we do, no matter what our life looks like externally, because the whirlwind is happening internally, and when this descends, there is no room for clear insights or ideas to come in.
No clarity, gratitude, insights, joy or ease can emerge in this state.
It creates anxiety, broken sleep, lack of rationale, and an extra dose of neediness. It doesn’t discriminate to a particular race or professional creed and doesn’t care if you’re rich, poor, smart or successful, once you’re gripped by it; it’s hard to break free.
Some might be under the illusion that if they create a protective barrier of wealth, properties, success, investments, and an illusion of security, it will protect them, they will be barricaded in and keep the monster of fear away.
With wealth, a persona is created around this, which has to be fed and maintained; the mere risk of losing even one-third of what they own feels catastrophic. Their persona, status and sense of self tightly are interwoven within this.
It can be extremely anxiety provoking.
Those who are driven by making money to keep fear away use the inner motivation of anxiety, overwhelm and stress. Perhaps making another half a million will keep fear away; maybe a bit more will do it. I coached a client recently who actually had a figure he had calculated and concocted in his mind which once reached, would keep fear at bay.
It’s not only the wealthy that are impacted by this. The average person we see walking down the street, often keeps diaries and calendars that are jam-packed full of arrangements. Fear of missing out, fear of loneliness and fear of rejection are often just a few of the reasons.
Their busyness growing to epidemic proportions.
Addictions are often started through attempting to dodge the bullet, a way of avoidance. Attempting to quieten the mind as one does to a petulant child, and as anyone knows when dealing with children, the more you try to silence them, the louder they become.
We attempt to push it down; we discover this great action called ‘control’ which gives us the imaginary respite that we have got ‘fear’ all beautifully held back. So we control and micromanage all that is around us to a precise detail.
Most people want to go around difficulties, but not through them, they want to avoid any type of feeling state that is uncomfortable, so they build invisible barriers between them and the world. They build a fortress, as a way of dispelling fear temporarily.
Yet there is another way we can deal with fear without substances, drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t cost a penny and you don’t need to live in a particular area to be attuned to it.
This is with Love.
Fear and love can’t exist in the same space.
The fear disappears in a puff of smoke when love is introduced, it cowers in the corner.
When the Beatles sang the song ‘All you need is love’ they were spot on.
When love is introduced, there is an ease, you breathe differently which brings a connection to self, the oxygen creating a barrier between you and fear bringing a moment of respite, it allows you to enter a calmer state bringing space, peace and insights.
There is no need to meditate for hours or enter an Ashram in India, you just need to become more conscious of your mindset, and this might require slowing down and becoming more present to your internal motivator.
We are generally walking towards two opposite directions, either love or fear. When making a decision in your personal or business life, ask yourself;
Are my decisions being motivated by love or fear?
I’m not encouraging you to become a hippy, armed with dreadlocks and a floaty pair of cheesecloth pants with matching strappy sandals. I’m merely inviting you to be more aware of where your energy is hanging out because it does matter.
We need to be aware of both these states of mind as they descend. Love brings clarity, whilst fear clouds our vision.
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”
When I first started public speaking, I was paralysed by fearful thoughts, which created a cacophony of feelings holding me back from being a great speaker.
Once I understood that love and fear couldn’t co-exist, I began to spend a few moments before speaking, making eye contact with as many people in the audience as I could, taking a breath and loving them all. I didn’t know them and it really didn’t matter, I just loved them.
It felt a little uncomfortable at first, but the more I did this, I noticed the fear of public speaking begin to diminish. I might feel anxious beforehand, which is totally normal, but I know the moment I connect with the audience as I step onto the stage, this feeling disappears.
My love for impacting the audience is stronger than entertaining fear and listening to the dialogue it brings with it. Fear was potentially stealing my opportunities, and I was ready to show it the door.
Reflect on your life;
If fear was stealing your opportunities, could you confront it?
If you knew it was disguised in a made up story that was possibly locked in during your early years, during the time in your life when its purpose was to give you an illusion of security, could you face it?
You might be living through stories of fear from decades ago, but you haven’t updated the database. They might have been totally appropriate when they first surfaced when you were 7 years old, it was there to keep you safe, but as you attempt to navigate your life as a 37-year-old, it no longer serves you.
In fact, it either holds you back or drives you to behave like a bull in a china shop.
How much energy is spent micromanaging every aspect of life with military precision so fear never has to enter it? Remaining in situations that are so toxic for your growth, but anything is better than confronting the (made up) monster.
Unless you’ve been hijacked, kidnapped, or are about to be confronted with a pack of wolves, most of our fears are made up and are powered through thought. They don’t emerge through a vacuum. Fearful thoughts create fearful feelings, which then inform our experience in the moment.
But more importantly, it influences the decisions you make moving forward.
The way we live our day to day life is not under threat of war, hijacks or kidnapping, yet we live it with intense stress. Worry is the underlying factor underpinning so many decisions in business, work and personal life. All powered through thoughts of ‘I need to, I must, I have to, I should…. Or else.’
It removes the enjoyment of what we were here on earth to do in the first place.
Yes, it might be underrated, but living has become a commodity these days.
When I recently titled my new book ‘Look Inside: Stop Seeking Start Living’ many professionals of various levels of success sent me private messages to tell me that the book title had spoken to them, because that is exactly what they are not doing — Living.
They are seeking to survive by the skin of their teeth. Is it any surprise that in recent weeks we have had to endure the suicides of incredibly talented and prolific members of society?
But as I wrote earlier, fear doesn’t discriminate.
One of the biggest breakthroughs my clients have is to discover a tremendous dose of vibrant energy once they relieve themselves from the full-time job of keeping fear away. Their life transforms immeasurably and they have space to create the business, life, career, and relationship they want, rather than become consumed with micromanaging life.
Fear never goes away, it loses its intensity the more you engage with it, as you would with an annoying neighbour who keeps knocking on your door to ask for spare milk. The more you understand that fear can’t hurt or destroy you, the less it will grip you by the throat.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the postman, a successful entrepreneur, a manager or a multi-millionaire. We were all created from the same fibre and therefore we feel fear in the same way. Don’t resist it, as it will persist; instead, understand that the mindset you embody in each moment, can have a monumental impact in all you create moving forwards.
Originally published at medium.com