If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a multi-millionaire, Exotic Car Collector, Serial Entrepreneur, and Best-Selling Book Author; I would have told you that you must be out of your mind.
Twenty years ago, I was only 14-years-old, had immigrated to the United States, and lived in a car with my single mother. The reality is that I didn’t have much then, and I lived with the constant fear of how bad the following day would be.
Little did I know that my entire world would be changed once I understood that no one but myself was holding me back from succeeding in life. Well, there was one other thing, and it was this thing called fear.
The problem wasn’t what I was afraid of, but the idea that I didn’t understand the concept of fear itself. So it took me awhile to adapt and realize that fears never really go away; instead, they just keep changing and shifting as your life evolves, and as a result, you change. Think about all the things you feared as a child and all the things you fear as an adult; there are always similarities, but the context is different.
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As a 14-year-old who had just moved to the Unites States, I was afraid of not fitting in. As I grew up and evolved, so did that same fear; but now I was afraid of being looked at as ordinary in my work and life. While these would seem like complete opposites to most, this fear is still based on the core idea of “how I am perceived” and has simply evolved based on my environment and experiences.
Someone once shared with me that fears were self-created lies, and that’s when I started thinking that perhaps if I would have thought of them as such from the beginning, I wouldn’t have spent as much time trying to fight my very own for so long.
Fear paralyzes most of us, but most of us have learned to overcome the most basic ones. You may have heard me express before in the "Third Circle Theory" that fear is the common denominator for just about everyone, giving us all a measure of success by how quickly we overcome our own.
I, myself, had many fears growing up as I mentioned earlier, but I learned to overcome them very quickly from fear of rejection to fear of failure. I even teach people how to overcome their fears, but it wasn’t until recently that I analyzed someone else’s perspective on fear and that indeed the theory could hold true. Here is my take on why I agree that fear is a self-created illusion.
Fears are created out of two contexts: lack of confidence and past experience. Let's define these two through some examples that might help you re-examine your very own fears and overcome them.
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Most fears are derived by possibilities, which means that our minds engage in attempting to predict negative possibilities rather than positive ones. A simple and clear example is a visit to the dentist which often is looked at as a negative thing due to the pain we believe we will experience or the bad news we will receive that we need to go back again.
Based on our past experiences, we have been hurt and therefore associate pain with dentistry, which creates a small fear before it even becomes a reality. The same can be said about failure. We often fear failure since in the past we have probably fallen more than we have strived, and this creates the fear that the possibility is greater that we might fall again. This new fear is a projection of our insecurities on a situation, creating even more instability.
Lack of Confidence
Lack of confidence plays a significant role in that same projection. We are more likely to project and hold onto a negative projection, creating more fear rather than believing that the same situation could have a positive projection to create more hope instead. The fact that we do not believe creates that enhanced fear that keeps us paralyzed.
This is very common when we want to approach someone we find attractive. Think about how the majority of the world tries to think of ways to approach someone so that they don’t get rejected when it hasn’t even happened yet. Why not assume that the person we are going to approach is going to say yes rather than reject us? That confidence alone creates more chance for success versus rejection. Once again the fear of rejection is not real, as it hasn’t happened yet.
If these two examples hold true, then just about every one of our fears can be linked to our lack of confidence or our past experiences. This means that perhaps none of our future fears of tomorrow are real, but rather self-created fabrications that are simply a projection of our negative outlook on the future.
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This also now brings up the point that perhaps the idea of being afraid of failure is only a similar projection, rather than a possibility. So I guess my last question to you would be:
What would you do if you knew you could never fail?