Use The Fear
How to Stop Fear Holding You Back from Achieving Your Dreams
Fear is a funny thing.
One of its most insidious aspects is often often we don’t realise that it’s operating, so we aren’t even aware that we have to overcome it in order to achieve our dreams.
Now if you are thinking “I’m not afraid of anything”, then I’m going to call you up on that.
I’m the first to admit that I get scared of things before I do them.
And understanding that fear is there, helps me move through it when I choose to.
I remember when I was buying my first ever investment property, over 10 years ago now, and the price I paid for it in the end, was a paltry $96,000. But I can tell you at the time it seems like a million dollars. And there were so many thoughts running through my head of what might go wrong I could have easily justified not going through with the deal.
But I did buy the property, and then a second one three months later, for nearly half the price, and when I was able to sell both of these properties, and generate nearly $100,000 profit, this got my property investing journey really started.
And I can tell you that I was fearful about selling too. But if I hadn’t sold I couldn’t have reinvested my profits into bigger deals, and then made bigger profits. And again and again.
And I learned a lot about my mindset, and some of the formulas for success in property and business through doing these deals.
So what was it that gave me the inspiration to move through my fear rather than to let it hold me back so many years ago?
I remember quite vividly, meeting with the great Steve Irwin, during a trip as a vet student, to Australia Zoo. At the time, I was learning the art and the science of veterinary medicine over in Western Australia, but we had a students conference in Queensland, and this was in the days before people even really knew who Steve Irvin was.
We were there at Australia Zoo, and someone asked Steve, how do you handle crocodiles when you are scared? And Steve’s answer was “Use The Fear”. He explained that even though he was scared, he understood the risks, and he would embrace the feeling of fear, and then still do what he needed to do.
Now of course, 15 years later, Australia mourned when Steve was mortally wounded by a freak accident handling a sea creature that should not have really even posed a risk. (A fatal stingray sting.)
Which leads us to the understanding that fear is important too. Fear alerts us us to potential dangers and tries to keep us safe.
The problem is that fear cannot distinguish between real dangers and potential dangers. That is up to us. Fear can only tell us that there is a potential risk, and we need to determine whether the risk is real, perceived, or a combination of both. And we need to work out how to mitigate those risks in order that we can still do the thing we need to do.
If we let the fear hold us back from everything, then we end up not doing anything at all, and we cannot achieve success if we don’t take action.
What to led me to write this blog, is that I’m reading a great fiction book (not real) at the moment, and I came across a chapter on fear which I want to share with you (it’s only a short chapter).
(I never understood why the books that were based on real happenings were called “non-fiction” while the ones that were based on imagination had the more real-sounding classification…)
Anyway, the book is not about success mindset per se, but it is really interesting, if you’re into reading fiction books.
I hope you get something out of this too. The (fictional) main character is talking to us in this chapter…
“I must say a word about fear.
It is life’s only true opponent.
Only fear can defeat life.
It is a clever, treacherous, adversary, how well I know.
It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy.
It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease.
It begins in your mind, always.
One moment you’re feeling calm, self-possessed, happy.
Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-managed doubt, slips into your mind like a spy.
Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out.
But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier.
Doubt does away with it with little trouble.
You become anxious.
Reason comes to do battle for you.
You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology.
But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low.
You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.
Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake.
Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallup on the spot.
Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing.
Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much.
And so with the rest of your body.
Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart.
Only your eyes work well. They always paid proper attention to fear.
Quickly you make a rash decisions.
You dismiss your allies: hope and trust.
There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.
The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought to face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it.
So you must fight hard to express it.
You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it.
Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear, because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
From: The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, 2001.
To your success in property investing.
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