Do you ever defeated or a failure because you feared something? It is time you flexed your muscle for overcoming fear and embracing change! In this episode Jimmy shares three fears of change and how to overcome them.
- The three most common reasons people fear change.
- How to channel your strength to overcome fear by focusing on the long-term benefits of life and not the short term discomfort!
- Why change is inevitable and how you can use the natural flow of change to increase your strength to defeat fear.
- What the acrostic “H.O.P.E.” means to Jimmy to strengthen his mindset about fear.
- When you are most likely to experience fear about change in your life.
Good morning! This is Jimmy Williams, your host with the most, for Live a Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation. If there’s one thing you can count on in this life, it is change. Benjamin Franklin had a quote, one of the founding fathers of this great country, that said, “the only thing that you can, without any uncertainty, count on are death and taxes.” Well, he was mostly right.
The other thing you can count on in life is change. And change can create some anxious moments for many of us. One of the things I want to bring to you this morning on Live a Life By Design is three of my strategies to help overcome the three biggest fears of change.
I want to say that embracing change is probably an oxymoron to a lot of people. You know, we’ve been forced to experience significant changes in the past 12 months. Many people were subjected to fears that were the cause of tremendous anxiety and worry. You know, there’s a term for those that suffer the phobia of fear, it’s called metathesiophobia. This is the persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of change. To these individuals suffering this phobia, the danger is real in their minds. The lack of control of their surroundings and other environmental issues create significant emotional trauma for them.
Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, is attributed to having stated, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them. That only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Now chaos and fear are the results of fighting the natural flow of the world around you. I am not saying to relinquish your principles or morals. Rather, it is much simpler to acclimate to the changes of the environment around us and reserve our energy for the execution of the actions required for us to achieve success in this new change. Learning to adapt is a skill like any other skill. According to Max McCowen, adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. The results of adaptation is growth. To many of us, growth is painful. Change is painful. But remember, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, said, “the secret of changes is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Hey, those are some powerful words from quotes of much wiser men than me, and I can assure you that that is what we must do in this day and age to cope with this wave of change that we continue to suffer around us.
So let’s get started. I want to share today as I said, these three common reasons people fear change. First, the individual fears failure. One of the most common fears of anyone that has attempted any activity outside their norms, or comfort zone, I allege it is not the failing that people fear, but rather the hurt subjected to their pride during the act of failing. Many of the best entrepreneurs and inventors throughout history experienced failure on an almost daily basis. How did they keep going in the face of such humiliation?
Remember, you are not a failure simply because you suffered a setback. Keep reminding yourself just because you failed today, or yesterday, doesn’t mean that you’ll fail the next time. When you were an infant learning to walk, your parents assisted you physically, but more than that, they encouraged you with positive feedback. “You can do it.” Or, “Come on, one more step toward Mommy.” If the child fell, and most often they did as they were learning to get their legs underneath them and walk, do you think the parents just gave up? “You know, Johnny’s fallen now 100 times. He’s just never going to walk.” No, the parents did not give up. In most cases, no matter where you look, people are generally walking on their feet instead of crawling on their hands and knees. Now it depends, I guess if it’s on a Saturday night late and you’ve had a night of partying, you might be on your hands and knees, but in the normal part of the day, during the sunlight, most people walk on their feet.
Apparently these walking people are accepting of failure and just kept trying until they mastered the act of walking. I would not allow myself to be labeled a failure simply because the first or the 100th attempt at something novel and innovative did not work as intended. One of my favorite quotes by Thomas Edison, the world renowned inventor, was a great example of maintaining his positive attitude in the midst of failing with the incandescent filament of a light bulb. Edison was quoted as saying, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Now that’s persistence.
To overcome the fear of failure amidst change is to find something that is simply the next step from your current position to where the paradigm has shifted. It’s not that giant leap. It is simply that next step. That one thing you can do to start building the confidence of accomplishment. Don’t convince yourself that you are a failure simply for not accomplishing greatness the first time or success within a certain timeframe. The only one’s opinion of you that matters pertaining to your success for failure is you.
The second common reason people fear change is the fear of pain, discomfort, and effort required to change. As we age, and believe me, when I tell you this story about change, because it is a personal one, our body requires more complex maintenance to continue to enjoy life. Now, I have been an athlete all my life. As a matter of fact, my brain still thinks that I’m the athlete I once was. My body keeps telling my brain, “Oh, no he’s not.” I don’t think many of you feel that way, but I’ll tell you at my age, 55, I don’t recover as quickly as I used to when I get sore and hurt.
For example, let me explain what happened recently. In a previous episode, I informed you about the aging process and my approach is to be proactive in keeping my body and mind healthy. I experienced a change in my body that required some medical tests recently. Having been fortunate all my life to be very healthy, these tests were a little unnerving. To build up my confidence in this process I pictured in my mind, and wrote a considerable amount in my journal, about the pain I may experience if I don’t find the source for the change in my body and simply ignore the symptoms.
My medical providers were very positive and almost seemed nonchalant about the process of these tests because they had performed them literally thousands of times. My inappropriate rationale was, “But this is my first time to experience these tests.” You know, they always say that a certain surgery is just an ordinary, blasé, process, but when they’re working on your body, that’s not just ordinary, that’s extraordinary to most of us.
But as they vividly explained the potential discomfort and potential shortening of life if we didn’t find the source and treat these changes, I quickly recalled my journal entries and realized the pain of the process is far less than the pain of the untreated results. I came across an acrostic. An acrostic is simply nothing more than letters that mean something different than what they are. So I came across this acrostic, we’ve got one that’s spelled fear, F-E-A-R, and it stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Well, I ran across another one that I’ve used in the past. It’s called hope, H-O-P-E. And it stands for me, at least, Hold On, Pain Ends.
My focus was on the long-term benefits and not the short term pain that allowed me to relent and undergo these important tests. Well, I can’t just leave you there. There’s some great news. This great news is that the results of these tests in the symptoms that changed throughout my body was easy to address And now I’m back now to my normal self in just a couple of days. Why worry and allow yourself to be tortured by “what ifs” when a small amount of pain and discomfort can be tolerated to eliminate or mitigate the worst kind of pain? And that pain? The worry of the unknown.
Our minds are brilliant. You can have certain symptoms in your body function and your brain will go to Google. Don’t we all do that? We self-diagnose on Google. And while we’re on Google, we simply look at the worst that you can find of Web MD or some other site. So when you see these symptoms that you place on your laptop and you pull up what they say may be the issue, it never fails that they send you one of the worst results of the symptoms you may have right off the bat. So when I read that, I thought, “Hmm, it’s probably best that I get a true professional to give me the opinion based on science instead of what I placed inside an algorithm that said, ‘Hmm, if he has all these symptoms here’s some of the diagnoses that may occur.'” So at the end of the day, I highly recommend you trust your medical providers far more than just some algorithms on the laptop.
But the key here is don’t worry about the unknown. That is greater pain in your life than simply going through the process of these tests. Now, I will grant you that certain medical tests are painful. I am not in any way alleviating that pain from your person if that’s what you’re going through. In my case, these tests were not that painful. It had a small amount of pain dealing with it, but the unknown, the worry and the thinking of what could be far worse, was much more painful in my opinion. So think past the short term discomfort and focus on the longterm benefits.
I get to live the life I wish. I get to remain active. I get to spend time with my wife and my kids, and I get to have fun in my career. I get to travel. You see what I’m saying? I didn’t say, “I have to.” I said, “I get to.” The difference in that mentality is what helps you overcome fear to embrace these changes in our world. Did we intend on merely working through our day in a virtual means? Now, I don’t know about you, but I am personally a handshaker and a hugger. I have not been my normal greeting self for anyone I meet because I’m now wearing a mask around. Now, there may be some of you that don’t believe in the mask concept. That’s okay for you. But for me, I wanted to do my part. And I thought it was helpful to not run around without the mask and possibly spread throughout our community other things.
So I believe that the mentality you take to resolving the issue is really important. If you wish to overcome any fear you have and embrace change, you must first start with your own mindset. Now, last week, I talked about how you can be the master of your mindset. This is a similar area in that you control you. There are a lot of things that you can overcome when it is a fear issue by simply feeding your mind the powerfully positive and pure messages that you can do more than fear will allow.
You see, the only thing fear does, it treats your mind to the exhilaration of, “I am not capable of overcoming it.” I’ve got news for you today. If you’re listening to this podcast, you have the power and capability to overcome any fear you may face. Particularly if you’re facing a fear of change. Embracing the change is the first step in overcoming the fear of change.
You know, many of us suffer this third fear, when it comes to change. We suffer the fear of the new. “How will my life be impacted? My habits of comfort?” D.H. Lawrence gave us good advice about fearing the new: “the world fears a new experience more than it fears anything. Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences, the world doesn’t fear a new idea. It can pigeonhole any idea, but it can’t pigeonhole a real new experience.” Humans are creatures of predictability and comfort. You cannot live a fulfilled life and never venture outside your home. It just is not possible.
You must experience new things, which is the one method of growth we all share. Feeling the awesome experience of something new creates a little bit of anxiousness in all of us. But after we have experienced the new activity, we immediately grow, our brains accept the new activity as now an experience which it will catalog for future reference. Imagine where our country would be if those few pilgrims didn’t sail their ships into the unfamiliar waters to a land that none had experienced before. Greatness is evidence of new experiences becoming the past.
So these three common fears, to me, make up everything that we need to know today to embrace change, embrace it with exuberance, versus allowing fear and doubt to run our lives. Those three common reasons people fear change is at first individuals fear failure because of the negative impact on their pride. The second reason is people fear change because of fear of pain, discomfort, and the effort required to change. It just takes strength to change when change comes to you. Now, it’s not an easy thing to do, and it does take guidance on your own mind, but you must overcome the short term discomfort to enjoy the longterm benefits of life. And lastly, the third most common fear when embracing change is the fear of the new. You know, we are comfort beings.
One of the things I will tell you I enjoy most is going to a new beach, perhaps even in a foreign country, and simply lie down, listen to the waves crash, and enjoy the comfort of being on that beach. Now, while I’m there, I also like to participate in some of their cultures, for example, activities. And I often watch people. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t watch them for any other reason, from a sociological standpoint, to learn about their behaviors and new cultures. How they dress, how they act, how do they conduct themselves in a crowd, for example? I enjoy those things. They’re new experiences that at first may seem a little unnerving.
But here’s the key. You are a capable human being. You are an empowered person with all that you need to overcome any fear that may arise in your life. The key to this is you. You must first look in that mirror and acknowledge yourself as being that powerful, positive, human being that can take on the world and you can overcome any limitation that’s holding you back from realizing your full potential.
This week I want you to think about something that was a quote and a charge to our nation by Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as she began her career of helping others after leaving the White House. She was a strong proponent of people helping people. This week I want you to take to heart her statement that she made. It was simply this. “Every day do something that scares you.”
It’s that simple. Every day, do something that scares you. You see, once we realize that it no longer scares us because we can do that task, that is growth as a human being, and that my friend is how you can overcome any obstacle of life. This week, go out in the world and live, and I mean truly, live your life by design.