2 a.m. I woke up with a disturbing thought. What is it doesn’t work?What if this business doesn’t work out? What if all the money, time, and effort was a waste?
For the next hour, I tossed and turned, attempting in vain to go back to sleep. These thoughts based in fear laid their spider web over my mind. I could not banish them regardless of how hard I tried.
I woke up groggy and tired at 5 a.m. Getting ready for work was a struggle. The commute was even more of a struggle. I powered up my office coffee maker, brewed a cup, and then proceeded to look at it deciding whether or not I would take a sip.
The thoughts continued to linger. Am I letting my family down by pursuing a hopeless cause? I turned on my laptop and pulled up my morning checklist. How am I supposed to write my next article to a website nobody even knows exists? How do I proceed? My only recourse was to do what I always do when I get a little down. I took out a blank piece of paper and began to write. I turned inward. I turned to my philosophy and the guide stones that have allowed me to stay the course.
What is the purpose of my business?
It is to help people. Specifically, it is to help people find the strength they deserve, the strength they need to complete their daily activities. On the surface, strong people navigate life with less difficulty. They are less dependent on help from others, including those whose primary occupation is to prescribe medication. Going deeper, strong people are often mentally tougher, braver, and better disciplined. My purpose is a good one. And if there is nothing wrong with it, and I believe that it is what I should be doing, then…
What should I do now?
I never once thought it would be easy. I never thought this would be some overnight success story. Yes, I am swinging for the fences, but I also know the game I am playing is a long one.
The past is gone. Hopefully, I learned something along the way. The future is uncertain. All I truly have is today. How many small victories can I win today? If I stack enough of them up and do it every day, then I will get a little closer to the goal. That is all there is. The plans have been made. The only thing left to do is the work. This mountain I am climbing can be conquered only if I can keep taking the next step. One day at a time. One small victory followed by the next.
In the days leading up to the Great Flood, the people of the world were living a good and happy life. There was little worry about the future. They ate, drank, and made merry. If they continued to sacrifice to the local gods, nothing could go wrong.
Then one day, someone started building a large boat. This was strange as there were no large bodies of water nearby. They asked him what he was doing and did not like his answer.
To them, this was the Golden Age. They did not look well upon those that held contrary beliefs. They did not tolerate anyone who would spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And that is what Noah was doing. Their response was ridicule, derision, and mockery. Who did Noah think he was to ruin their good times? Thus, they continued in the disbelief until the rain began to fall.
In the early 1990’s, I had a teacher that believed the end was near. For us students, this was hard to believe. We were young and full of optimism. The world was changing before our eyes and thoughts of the end times were ridiculous. We were on the brink of a new Golden Age and this man was intent on cracking our good spirits. Today, we would consider this teacher an early “doomsday prepper.” He even advised us High School students to buy gold as a hedge against inflation. Back then, I had a hard time taking him seriously.
In my recent studies on cryptocurrencies, I have come across the acronym FUD. FUD is fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Spreading FUD will get you removed from online forums. Investors expect their returns to take them to the moon, and they do not appreciate those who would think differently. As an investor myself, I want to believe the best is yet to come. But at the same time, I don’t want to be so foolish to turn a blind eye to the spreaders of FUD. Doing so would be perilous if the storm really is on the horizon.
The world we live in is bound to have a little FUD. Last year, a health crisis began its devastating effects on the world. There are powerful people that are opposed to individual freedom. Our food and water supplies are being threatened. It seems that everywhere you turn, in every sector that impacts our lives, our existence is in peril. The FUD is real. I don’t want to be the one spreading the FUD. But It is out there, and I, for my own sanity, need to learn how to manage it.
F-E-A-R has two meanings. Forget Everything and Run. Or, Face Everything and Rise. The choice is yours.
Essentially, we are talking about one of the most basic survival mechanisms we have as humans: fight or flight. In the face of real danger, to run makes sense. But to run from the challenge when no real threat exists is self-defeating. Instead, you should rise to the challenge.
When I think about fear, I think of the unknown. That can be scary. What if there are monsters hiding in the shadows? Even worse, what if the monsters are hiding in plain sight. A wolf at a distance in the daylight might not be that scary. One in the dark brings fear. Even worse, is the wolf dressed as a sheep. You don’t even know to be scared until it is too late.
Zig Ziglar has another acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. This acronym describes most of our fears. We have anxiety for a future that has not yet come to pass. We are in fear of something that we cannot control. And this leads to…
Robert Greene put it well when he stated, “The need for certainty is the greatest disease the mind faces.” We are not gods, yet we want the omniscient power. We want the security that comes in certainty. Maybe this condition has evolved with the evolution of our modern world. Instead of living lives of adventure and exploration, we have become accustomed to routine. We have adapted to a work, eat, sleep pattern with only manufactured adventures experienced through television and video games. Are we really choosing to go passively into the Matrix? When our routine is challenged, we become uncertain. And with uncertainty comes…
How do you know how to proceed if you don’t know how what will happen in the future? In truth, you don’t. But we can’t resort to inaction. Instead, you must take a step. You must travel the path the best you can. And if you are wrong? Well, at least you tried. And with the knowledge of being wrong, you can correct your course and take your next step in the right direction. The key is taking the steps. If you don’t take the steps, if you remain in place, you will never go anywhere. The only thing that will hold you back is yourself.
Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.
We must learn how to navigate the FUD in our lives. Yes, it can be difficult, but it can be done. Search for the truth wherever it can be found. Make it your personal mission and gravitate toward it. Become who you were meant to be and remember…
I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. One time, I bought a new car, because my old one had an oil leak. The price to fix it was about the same as one month’s payment on the new car. If I would have taken the time, I might have been able to fix it myself. I even got the name of a friend’s friend that could have fixed it for a case of beer. Instead of dealing with the problem, I ran away from it and ran toward a whole new problem (the new car).
The best thing I could have done back then was get the car fixed. Unfortunately, I was a little on the shy side and didn’t like to ask for help. Why? Who knows, and my avoidance of that problem led to many more financial problems down the road.
I haven’t done something that stupid in a long time. But I still occasionally dip my spoon into the bowl of stupid and partake of it. Usually, this has to do with my own insecurities. I don’t want to look foolish in other people’s eyes. And my perception of their possible perception of me drives me to do some silly things.
For instance, if we are talking and I don’t understand what you are saying, I will ask you to repeat it. If I can’t get it the second time, I might nod my head in agreement. This could be some valuable information, and now I am missing it. When I can’t connect the blanks later on, I have to go through the painful process of trying to reacquire it much to the dismay of the person that gave it to me.
The idea that someone would judge me based on my lack of knowledge, on my inexperience, or naivete is almost paralyzing. Yes, I know this is an ego problem. But it’s the truth. I try do anything I can to avoid it. Well at least until recently.
It has taken me a painfully long time to learn this lesson, but I have to stop worrying about other’s opinions of me. There’s a good chance, nobody is really even paying that much attention to me anyway. If my quest is knowledge, I can’t allow imaginary obstacles to prevent from obtaining it. I have to let go of my pride and remain the student.
Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire. –Dan Brown
The things we fear are often only a figment of our imaginations. It would be a shame if that is what is keeping us from pursuing the goals that would lead us to a better life.
Those first two months in my new position at work was rough. Everything was new. My level of expertise was developed in a quick training plan. I had very little experience in the field to draw from. To present my work was daunting as well. What if I made the wrong call? It could have an effect on the livelihoods of my fellow co-workers.
But as the days went by, I developed a greater familiarity with the work I was doing. I continued to train on my own. I grew in experience. Now, I make calls with greater confidence and present those calls without fear.
It’s my theory that the better trained you are, the more natural courage you have, because you have a belief in yourself. –David Hackworth
What are the things you fear? Is it a rational fear, or is it something that you can conquer? If other people have found a way, then it is possible for you to find a way as well. Bring to light that which you fear. Become familiar with it. Train for the inevitability that you will have to one day face that fear. Prepare yourself now, so that you don’t shy away from it when the day comes. With courage you will be able to rely on your training and overcome the obstacle that stands in your way.
There have been many times that I have played the scenario out in my head. Stricken with anxiety, I mentally act out each step. How will it go down? How can I prevent the inevitable? When the trial has come and gone, it rarely was ever as bad as I imagined it. All the stress was for no reason. It was wasted mental effort that could have been put to better use.
We are not fortune tellers. We cannot predict the future. No good comes from imagining and then expecting the worse case scenarios to come true. What happens, happens. We can prepare daily to overcome any obstacles thrown our way. But to live them out before they occur is an exercise in futility.