How Do You React To Fear?

The excerpt below comes from  Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz:

Don’t Mistake Excitement for Fear

“Lecky has said that the purpose of emotion is “reinforcement,” or additional strength, rather than to serve as a sign of weakness. He believed that there was only one basic emotion-“excitement”-and that excitement manipulates itself as fear, anger, courage, etc., depending upon our own inner goals at the time – whether we are inwardly organized to conquer a problem, run away from it, or destroy it. “The real problem is not to control emotion, but to control the choice of which tendency shall receive emotional reinforcement.” (Prescott Lecky, Self Consistency, A Theory of Personality, New York, Island Press.)”

Dr. Maxwell Maltz talks about the excitement you experience when you are scared to do something is similar to nervousness. We’ve all experienced this type of nervousness at some point in our lives and it depends on how we direct this form of excitement.

When I first moved down to Orlando, I was pretty fearful of what was going to happen. All of my friends were in NY and I knew almost no one in Florida. I did have a cousin, her husband and their son so I at least had a starting point when I came down.

To be honest, I should have been more scared than I was but I never let that take control over me. I kept in mind the potential that I had in a new city. New people, new businesses, new networking opportunities, warmer weather and of course new women 🙂

I didn’t let this bother me, which I believe is in part due to my ability to learn to control my emotions while playing sports and learning how to harness this power and re-direct the fear and turn it into motivation for me.

How to Turn Fear Into Excitement and Success

We’re on my personal blog, so I’m going to share how I do things my way. That means I’m going to talk about how I control my fears. Hey, maybe it’ll help you control yours too!

Do you know what FEAR actually stands for?

False Expectations Appearing Real

You’ve probably heard that plenty of times. I know that I hear it and read it a lot when trying to break through barriers in my life.

This is absolutely the truth though.

When you become fearful of something, it’s mainly because you are thinking about the worst possible case happening and your life being completely ruined forever.

But what if you focused on the best possible thing happening because you’ve addressed your fear?

You know that it’s just as likely for something good to happen than for something bad to happen.

How Can You Get Over Fear?

What is it that I do to get over my fears?

I was nervous about going go-carting for my roommates 27th birthday because the go-carts went 45mph. The fear really only set in when I sat down in the go-cart and realized that there were no seat belts in these go-carts. After slapping myself in the helmet a few times and holding the peddle to the metal around a corner and not dying, I realize my fear was un-necessary.

I’ve decided that the best approach to conquering fear is to just take it head-on.

There’s no more putting something off because I’m scared or nervous. If I am scared to do something, I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest as a person to “just do it” as Nike says.

I’m absolutely terrified of jumping out of an airplane, so I’ve decided that I’m going to do it and film it so I can share it here on my blog. It’s also so I can laugh at myself when I see me probably half crapping my pants on the way up to jump haha.

If you are fearful of something at this very moment, take out a piece of paper and a pen.

Draw a line down the middle like in the great drawing below…

How Do You React To Fear?

You’re probably thinking… “oh my Chris, you draw such a perfectly straight line you are an artist!”

I thought about becoming an artist but after drawing that crooked line, I realized I should stick with business and personal growth.

At the top of the paper on the left write “Positives” and on the right side put “Negatives”. Write out everything that could be positive about addressing your fear. I mean everything, including if it will give you butterflies and make you feel like a kid in a candy shop. These feelings are essential.

On the right side write down all of the negatives. Include everything even if it is so out there that you think you’d be considered crazy for even considering it.

Example)  you have a fear of dogs and the worst possible thing that could ever happen would be an apocalypse happen and you’re stuck on the earth with only dogs. The more outrageous, the better.

If you didn’t do this, please stop reading and go do it right now. If you don’t do this activity, you will not see results and grow.

I personally am guilty of reading things like this all the time and then putting off the activities because I wasn’t in the mood. Doing that didn’t help me grow, it wasn’t until I sat down and DID the activities that I noticed growth.

Seriously, go do it right now.

After you’ve done this activity I want you to look at the negatives. Pick the top 3 worst things that can happen and number them on a scale of 10 (1 being best, 10 being worst). Label these 3 with how bad these truly are and how much they would ruin your life.

If you noticed that the worst thing that happens is that you have a few 6’s or 7’s can you live with that?

If the worst case scenario were to happen, would you be able to go back to before you addressed your fear and go back to your old life?

The truth is that not all bad outcomes will destroy your life. If you assess ALL of the possible outcomes, it’s unlikely that the worst possible thing that could happen will actually happen. When you realize that, your anxiety lessens and your fear subsides a bit. It might still be there, but it will be less than it once was.

It’s possible that the fear you have could have a reason behind it, but it could also be a belief that is just holding you back.


What do you normally do when you are fearful of something? Are there certain tricks you’ve used that have helped you? If so, would be willing to share in the comments below?


Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun. Chris on Google+

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Jules - June 23, 2011 Reply

I realized the whole “take fear head-on” method when I was getting ready to go to Ireland. Around then I had also realized that I was going to have to fly around the country for business soon, and busing/taking a train was no longer going to be an option. I just got on the damned plane, hit play on my iPod, and tried to breathe. While taking an 8 hour flight was not the best option for my first time flying, I did it!

I try to think about this every time I am in “scared to death” mode. Also, learning how to admit that I’m scared to myself is HUGE, because it takes far more energy to pretend I’m not.

Chris Hughes - June 24, 2011 Reply

crap! You seriously did just go straight at it head on. Props to you for that! 🙂

Do you think “scared to death” mode is good for us?

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