How Fear Works and How to Deal with It?
A lot of us struggle with fear. Fear is a common disease. There are two species of fear. Both are deadly to our life in the long run. We will discuss how to deal with both of them. Remember that the road to becoming braver is not easy. That is why most people do not practice it.
Avoidance fear comes up when we hear something that we are unwilling to try or do. Avoidance fear manifests when the toddler refuses to hold his mother's hand during a walk through the park. Avoidance fears limit our opportunities. They keep us in silos of racial and cultural segregation. Avoidance fears are particularly common with strong personalities. Why? They have strong strengths and strong weaknesses. People who are more moderate suffer avoidance fear when asked to do something extreme. Extreme things are not always negative. They are sometimes beneficial. An example is like a radical diet change, or a crash weightlifting program. These are extreme, but very beneficial to the practitioner. Try to make a habit of listing avoidance fears that you have. Common avoidance fears that many people have:
- Emotional Honesty
- Discussing Sexual Struggles
If we are emotionally dishonest, we will suffer regularly from mental illnesses and depression. If we refuse to discuss sexual struggles, our dating life will be a mess. If we refuse to suffer, we will never see improvement in anything. If we refuse to commit, we will have no friends. If we refuse to change, we will not gain new perspectives on life that help us. If we refuse to admit the reality of our own mortality, we will be arrogant and pushy while we are living. These common fears are very bad. Make your own list of fears that you have, and try to deal with them.
Although often confused with courage, overconfidence is not courage. It is over focusing on our strengths, and ignoring our weaknesses. When we only do what we like to do, we feel great, but we are not being brave. Many very athletic people look very brave. Why? They are running, wrestling, and jumping. They are doing things that most of us could never hope to do. However, whether they are being brave or over confident depends on how much they enjoy the activity they are doing. If they extremely enjoy their athletic disciplines, they are not being brave. They are being over confident. This becomes clear when we hear about their failures to be honest in their relationships in the local tabloids. Just like the rest of us, athletes struggle with fears. The fear of an athlete or a businessman has something in common. It is something they are too confident about, or too unwilling to do. Both could benefit from learning from the other. Examples of overconfidence include:
- The Executive who is sure that his company is not failing
- The pastor or priest who insists his religion is the only one that is true
- The toddler who thinks he should have candy now
- The athlete who refuses to learn basic arithmetic
Every person has things they love to do, they like to do, and that they hate to do. Dr. Thierry Steimer notes that fear is often linked to survival urges. Pathological anxiety is when we are unwilling to cope with the challenges of life because they are too excessive for us to handle. When our body detects something that threatens life as we know it, it triggers a fear response in our body's systems. Overcoming that anxiety requires realizing that it grows from the flesh, and not the reason. Many things overlap, but not all. The ones that do overlap are commonly shared fears and overconfidence areas. Things like pleasure versus suffering. Things like honesty versus lying. Things like obedience versus rebellion. These are commonly shared areas where most people struggle. They obey people they should not. They rebel from people they should not.
To develop our personality requires that we know our strengths and weaknesses. One way to do it is take a professional psychometric test like the free one published by Dr. Dario Nardi of UCLA. Dr. Nardi's test will give 8 cognitive traits that we all share. Most people develop them at different rates and amounts. The ones that are least developed are the areas where you will usually exhibit avoidance fear. The ones that are most developed are the areas where you will usually exhibit over confidence fear. The psychometric functions are:
- Practical Observation (Introverted Sensing - Si)
- Practical Risk Taking (Extroverted Sensing - Se)
- Creative Development (Introverted Intuition - Ni)
- Creative Brainstorming (Extroverted Intuition - Ne)
- Outward Relationships (Extroverted Feeling - Fe)
- Inward Values (Introverted Feeling - Fi)
- Outward Honesty (Extroverted Thinking - Te)
- Inward Accuracy (Introverted Thinking - Ti)
Once you take Dr. Dario Nardi's test, pay special attention to where you are poorly developed. Also take your psychometric code XXXX to a good evaluation website. These are your blind spots that will often cause you to avoid beneficial things. Also pay special attention to your strengths. These are the areas where you tend to be overconfident and not willing to learn from those different than you.
You will be amazed once you know how to develop your personality. No person fully develops their brain. However, every person can practice the areas where they are weak. If we choose to do so, we will be much healthier and happier than the majority of our peers who do not. Doing so requires that we spend time with the people who most annoy us. Stephen Covey recommends interdependence as the goal of life. Most people pursue independence when they are overconfident. They pursue dependence where they are fearful. Both of these things can cause tragic errors, like the mass suicides in Jonestown. A bunch of silly people being overconfident of their afterlife after murdering themselves. Do not be like that.
Fear is not fun. Living with the consequences of cowardice is even less fun. Practice developing where it hurts. No one can become perfect. That is why we need to work with others. However, every person should improve a little. If we refuse to practice our avoidance fears and temper our overconfidence, it will take us down a dark and dirty road of emotional stress. Become the person who faces fears, and you will change remarkably soon. Avoid the urge to be overconfident. You might find that overconfidence leads to a life of despair and regrets as well.