Who on earth wants to be scared? If you aren’t raising your hand with the speed of a schoolboy who’s just wet his pants, then you darn well should be.
Yes, this is another one of those ‘fear is nothing to be afraid of’ articles, but with a little twist. More like a shimmy than a twist actually. Like Vincent and Mia, but far less cheese.
Usually these articles throw clichés at you such as ‘there is nothing to fear, but fear itself’ or ‘for God sake, stop being a pussy’. You know the type. Anyway, the point being that many of these fear based articles are only helpful to a certain degree. Sure, they deliver a quick kick up the arse but 5 minutes after you have finished reading it you will have probably already forgotten the information contained within.
Not very useful for personal development really is it?
That’s the problem with many of these articles. They are great for the duration of time that you actually spend with them, but as soon as you close your browser to start up another game of Candy Crush, you may as well have never read it to begin with.
It’s like the famous double slit experiment. Observe the words and they will change your life, but look away and life becomes a bit wavy and unpredictable.
What we need to do is somehow learn how to continue with these positive thoughts and allow them to actually change how we think throughout the day.
That change must come from within, not from some idiot on the internet.
To do this you need to be continually challenging yourself to change. Pushing forwards and searching for new ways to smash through your self-imposed barriers.
You need to be asking yourself questions like;
‘What am I actually doing to change my life?’
‘How can I change these bad habits?’
‘Why am I allowing my addictions to control who I am?’
‘What can I do today to significantly improve my life situation?’
‘Who can I ask for help?’
‘Am I a good person?’
‘Do I respect myself?’
Only be continually asking ourselves questions such as these can we be sure that we aren’t allowing the fear of the unknown to scare us into inertia. Because that’s exactly what it is – the fear of the unknown.
Scary questions provoke scary answers and many of us are too afraid of what the answer might be.
Articles written about fear usually concern how we interact with the world around us. Things like asking someone out on a date or asking your boss for a pay rise. Scary for sure, but they all revolve around how we deal with external factors.
We need to forget about everyone else for the time being and focus on ourselves.
Look at those questions above and for each one, think of a suitable answer. I’ll wait here while you do this.
You may have found some of them easy to answer but I bet at least 1 or 2 were a little challenging.
When I asked myself these questions I personally found the toughest one to answer was ‘do I respect myself?’
My initial instinct was to reply with ‘of course I respect myself you stupid moron’, but that was my ego responding, not the real me. After wrestling with this question for a few seconds I felt I could override my ego and offer a more truthful response;
‘I respect myself for trying to live a better life but I can’t be sure if I deserve any more than that’.
So what does this mean? Should I be doing more to become the person I see in my mind’s eye or can I rest on my laurels safe in the knowledge that I at least respect myself partially for attempting to change?
I think I know the answer to that question, even if I am reluctant to admit it.
THAT is the point I am trying to make here. The safe option is to carry on blindly, hoping that the path we are on is the correct one but what if it’s not? What happens then?
These questions suck because they are reactive. They are a consequence of fear, not a generator of fear.
We can’t allow fear to prompt us into asking questions. We need to get ahead of fear and scare the shit out of ourselves first.
If we can get into the habit of doing this every day then progress takes care of itself. We don’t have to rely on having to read motivational articles to give us a nudge in the right direction because we are capable of doing it 24/7.
The irony is that I am a personal development blogger writing a personal development article telling you that you shouldn’t rely on the words I write, but my goal is to help you, not to hold you back.
Many people go through life refusing to admit their flaws, not to others, but to themselves. If you can’t admit something to yourself then how can you ever hope to improve? Embrace your flaws, accept them for what they are and acknowledge that you have taken the first major step towards becoming your true self.
You’re in there somewhere – you just need drag that person out kicking and screaming. It’s not going to be easy but it’s far tougher to carry on pretending that everything is ok.
There is one rule that you need to follow;
If the answers aren’t frightening enough then you need to start asking scarier questions.
It’s as simple as that. Embrace the terror.
Take one of those questions from the article and let me know your answer in the comments – how does it make you feel?
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Those questions didn’t scare me, but I’m probably a narcissistic ass who can’t be helped in the first place. Regardless, the most thought provoking for me was, “Who can I ask for help?” I’m a likeable guy, and I have a good number of friends and family who would be happy to help in any way they could. However, how could they? I don’t know how they could, because I don’t know what I want to accomplish. I have no real goals, though I do have vague notions of what I want out of life. But how does one even go about pursuing one’s dreams? I don’t have an ideal career in mind, I only know that am not overly enthusiastic about the one I have. How do you even decide what will keep you interested?
Thanks for your time,
Dreams and goals come and go throughout life. There is something you want to do right now, even if you don’t realise it yet. Just keep trying to do the things you spend most of the time thinking about and you can’t really go wrong! Thanks for your thoughts.
You pose some good questions Jamie. I think the main reason why most people aren’t asking themselves scary questions is because they care more about the short-term comfort of feeling good than they do about being happy and competent in the long-run.
To be fair though, I haven’t really asked myself very scary questions for the past week. Rather, I’ve been delusionally positive reframing everything. Haha.
I like how you incorporate analogies, such as this one:
“That’s the problem with many of these articles. They are great for the duration of time that you actually spend with them, but as soon as you close your browser to start up another game of Candy Crush, you may as well have never read it to begin with.”
PS: I’ve never played Candy Crush, but I’m never going to either for fear of getting addicted!
Ludvig Sunström recently posted..Take More Action and Crush Perfectionism by Following this Principle
Hey Ludvig, positive reframing is a good thing to do if done correctly and consistently, keep it up.
I’ve never played Candy Crush either, but everyone I know seems to be addicted to it, when to me, it looks like a modern version of the old Sega game ‘Columns’… which was awesome by the way!
Never understood the craze with Candy Crush! That being said, I used to be a gamer and would love to start playing Final Fantasy again! Only thing is I know I won’t stop once I begin. And my fear of not making it in the things that really resonate with me is far greater than the instant gratification these games can give me.
Jeremy recently posted..The Top 3 Things I’m Grateful For In 2013
I don’t think any sane person can understand Candy Crush although Final Fantasy 7 was a truly excellent moment in gaming history! Fear is indeed a great motivator, Thanks Jeremy!
I LOVED all the ff games. Biggest nerd ever on that.
Ludvig Sunström recently posted..Use Dunbar’s Number to Create Your Own Reality
Those two should have had The Wolf come to them much sooner when problems were small…
Have a Merry one!!!
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I’m sure there is a ‘keep the wolf from the door’ joke in here somewhere, but it’s beyond my capabilities right now! Merry back at you CJ!
This is an inspiring post, my friend!
Your post reminded me what I think personal development literature (including the stuff I post on my blog) is. Unless we act upon what we read, then it just becomes mental stimulation. And the acting part will be scary. However, we need to be willing to take on the fear if we’re ever going to make any real and lasting progress.
Out of your questions, which are excellent, I really liked ‘How can I change these bad habits?’ It implies habits have a structure and structures can be changed.
Hiten recently posted..How to Keep Your Ego in Check for 2014
Hey Hiten, an article without action is like food that isn’t being eaten – what is the point? I like what you say about habits having a structure… if we change the fundamental building blocks of what cause us to act a certain way then we can change anything. Thanks for your thoughts!
Scary questions can cause a person to look at their life and what they should or could be doing. Honestly answering those questions can allow us to break through our fears to take action on our dreams and desires. Great thoughts!
Hey Dan, you’re right.. as long as the answers are as true as the questions themselves – otherwise there is no point in asking! Thanks for your comment!
I see this as being really aware of your life, what you’re doing, who you are, etc. This comes at a price though.
Hemingway used to say that happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing ever. People who are constantly asking these scary questions will naturally be more sad because they know what they’re capable of.
After this, or you conquer the world or you live with chronic depression.
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Your thoughts on happiness and intelligence is a very welcome insight. I have often suspected this over the years and I too think there is a correlation between depression and intelligence. I’m not quite sure how strong the link, but I’m sure it’s there!
I have learned to ask myself the tough questions…and it’s been a huge asset on my life.
Doing so makes you realize not only how easy it is to lie to ourselves – but how we build entire lives, stories and identities on those lies.
I remember a while back…I would ask myself a scary question and immediately feel the hesitation. And then an understanding came to me that reminded me that it was ok to be gut honest since it was ME who was going to hear the answer. That made it seem a little safer.
Fast forward to now – I’ve realized that not acknowledging the scary aspects of ourselves – our shadows – is what creates our lives. The thoughts we don’t know we’re thinking that unless probed out of us by asking such questions will continue to run the show.
And until then – we’ll wonder why we continue to experience the same shit over and over again because we’re unaware of who we really are underneath the identity we present to the world.
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Hey Dana, I often get scared with some of my own questions because, like you say, it’s as if others can hear the answers but it is only us. It’s so strange. We give our ego too much power and freedom with who we really are – and it responds by continuing to take the controls! Thanks for your thoughts!