One of our listeners reached out to me with a lengthy response to my comments on Episode 200 of Funding the Dream on Kickstarter, where I discussed fear and how it paralyzes us into inaction.
I’m posting his article as a guest post although he has requested to remain anonymous.
The future. Tomorrow. Next year. It is the cause of most our stress and fear. Not that things are terrible or unbearable today – although sometimes that is the case – but that we see disaster looming on the horizon. We fear a future that is not the one we would choose. We worry that things will not turn out the way we want. That fear causes us to act precipitously, or freezes us into unhealthy inaction. Fear, not the love of money, is the root of all evil.
Advertisers know this. Many ads play to our fears of a disastrous or decaying future. Act now, before it’s tool late. Don’t miss this fleeting opportunity. Don’t let this happen to you.
Newscaster and journalists know this. Our news is a litany of “distributing reports’ and ‘troubling developments’. If you want a real lesson in the use of fear, just listen to talk radio.
Politicians know this. Anyone foolish enough to support the other guy is inviting disaster. Fear wins elections, because most of us are afraid. Not of today, but of what will happen tomorrow.
Fear is, of course, a useful emotion that tells us not to mess with that rattlesnake, or to run when an overpowering enemy is approaching. That type of fear – fear of a clear and present danger – keeps us alive.
But fear also manifests as worry. Worry that we will loose our job, or our lover, or our status. Worry that we will loose what we have or that we won’t get what we want. We see trouble coming and we multiply it out, far into the future
This borrowing of tomorrow’s troubles causes stress, keeps us up nights, spins us off into daydreams of woe. Makes us hurt. Makes us sad or depressed. You may not be able to focus. To deal with the issue. You can’t see a solution because you can’t get your mind off the problem.
I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve curled up in a ball of stress and pain, worried about the future. I’ve had sleepless nights and zombielike days. Days of dull ache where I couldn’t get a thing done. Moments where the fear hits like a wave and the pain is a physical thing that took my breath away.
And most of those fears never came to pass
And some of them did.
And I survived both, and learned along the way, things that have helped me move past my fears. To set them aside when they come. To keep them from ruling me and to keep them from causing me to make bad decisions.
Learning to control my fear and redirect my worry has helped me to live a happier, more empowered life.