Fear Factor

By Audrey Marlene

Fear Factor


What is Fear?

So you've analyzed your ambitions and have determined the life you want to have. You can envision it but something seems to get in the way. Could it be that fear factor?

Fear has a way of injecting psychological toxins into our subconscious that acts like a handcuff, restraining our ability to achieve our goals. Although the fear may be perceived, it seems so real. This perceived fear plays games with our minds, robbing us of any rational thoughts we need to cherish in order to move ahead.

When fear is perceived, the portion of the brain involved in fear automatically reacts. It triggers behaviors such as a racing heart, anxiety, or sweaty palms. If the fear factor is related to doubts about your own ability, the fear will allow you to come up with an excuse why you cannot accomplish your task.

The process of fear is entirely subconscious. You are driven to think, believe, and act based upon the fear you initially perceived. If the perceived fear is funneled through unfavorable past experiences, the subconscious mind injects even more doubt and eventually you can feel immobile, paralyzed, or unable to make it past the first step.

Because we as humans do everything to avoid pain or discomfort in our lives, we give in to the fears we are fed by our subconscious. This fear factor then dominates and prevents you from even attempting the first move. There may be times that your ambition pulsates within you and motivates you to get it past the first step but the discomforts and doubts created by fear can be so much more powerful than your own ambitions that you cannot even follow through.

Over time, this fear factor eats away at your self-confidence. You begin to come up with excuses why things can't get done. You play the victim role. You feel sorry for yourself. You become depressed. Your self-esteem takes a plunge - all because the fear factor has infiltrated your psyche.

Fear Factor Destroys Self-Confidence

Ever notice that you have no problems coming up with great, ideas - profitable ideas? You are convinced that this is the big one, the idea of all ideas. The moment you conceive your idea, the level of excitement surges within you. You can't wait to share it with your friends and family. But as the days go by the enthusiasm tapers off.

Unfortunately, this is idea number 49. The people in your life have heard it so many times that they just listen to your hype to be polite. You begin to develop a reputation for "all talk and no action". Your self-confidence slowly becomes eroded. How many times has this happened to you? What do you think contributes to this syndrome? Could it be the fear factor?

In order to make the bridge from ambition to achieving your plans, you must deal with the fear factor in your life. You may feel fearless in other areas of life but in this area of goal attainment there is something sabotaging you every time. That something is fear.

When fear intercepts your plan, your ability to execute is jeopardized. Your enthusiasm eventually disappears and everything is at a stand still. You once again feel disappointment in yourself, wondering what happened. Your level of confidence takes a serious plunge. You withdraw for the embarrassment you feel. Your self-esteem bottoms out. You remain in hibernation until you once again feel comfortable to emerge, hoping that no one remembers to ask about your once again failed project.

Fear of Success

Once fear is allowed to erode your self-confidence it remains in control of your life, lurking within the subconscious. Each failed attempt or each time something is avoided due to fear, this fearful behavior is reinforced even more. That fear factor is then transferred to all areas of your life. The erosion of your self-confidence simultaneously affects your self-esteem. The self-critic dominates your thought process and self doubt inevitably moves in as one begins to experience what many term "fear of success". If the fear is not addressed it continues to sabotage your every move.

Let's examine the real meaning of fear of success.

  • Your perception of self undergoes a transformation. You believe you are unworthy of any positive outcomes or recognition you will receive as a result of your achievements, so why even try?

  • You feel afraid of failing or making mistakes that you refuse to even make the first attempt.

  • Because your self-confidence is undermined you doubt your own abilities to execute a task. There is very little effort made to even attempt a project.

  • You may begin to compare yourself with others and feel inferior, believing that no matter how much success you achieve, it will never stack up.

  • You may begin to rationalize that even though you achieve all your goals, you still won't be able to find happiness and true contentment in your life. So what's the point?
  • Do any one of these apply to you? Try to examine your mode of operation to determine if you have fallen victim to the fear factor.

    Fear Conditioning

    Fear is a normal, innate survival tool we all possess. It serves as a means of protecting us from harm. However, that same fear that protects us can also hinder our progress in life.Let us examine what really causes fear of success or the fear factor that tend to hold us back.

    The fear many of you experience that holds you back may be triggered by our culture, social structure, and values. Modern culture defines success in terms of wealth, fame, or prestige. We are compared to these norms and judged accordingly. If your level of confidence in your abilities are not sufficiently developed to feel comparatively capable a feeling of fear takes over. This results in anxiety. Here is where the fear factor conditioning begins. Over time, as this fear is experienced, this learned behavior becomes ingrained in the psyche.

    This form of fear conditioning allows you to become very intimidated. It causes you to put off doing something of great importance that can benefit your life in significant ways. Each time it gets put off the fear factor is reinforced even more and the conditioning continues. Because fear is an automatic, physiological reaction, you find yourself doing or acting in ways that are so unlike you.

    Fear conditioning destroys your self-image. It places you under enormous stress because you feel you cannot live up to your own personal expectations or even worse the increased expectations that are dictated by our culture.

    Overcoming Fear, Fear Not!

    You are now aware of the power fear can have over you. You may have attributed your inability to gain your success momentum to fear. You must learn to overcome fear and discard this albatross that sabotages your ability to achieve your goals. But how?

    You must first make that decision for CHANGE. You must choose whether to allow your fears to ruin any plans you have for the future or to break free of them. It is a choice, yes a choice you must make. Spend some time alone to look way down into the recesses of your heart and decide what fears are holding you back. Make a list of them. You are the only one who truly knows the fear that binds you. You are the only one who can free yourself from your fear. Decide to let go of the victim role that fear has you living in and make the effort to let it disappear from your life. This is the first step towards overcoming fear.

    The next step to overcoming fear is awareness. Be able to recognize when fear has control of you and assess that fear. Acknowledge it out loud and ask "what am I afraid would happen to me"? What do I have to lose for trying? What am I really afraid of? Write them down. Stop and try to imagine how your life would be if you resisted the fear. Think about how great it would feel. Think about the opportunities missed by allowing the fear to stay in control.

    Now that you know what you are truly afraid of try to address the fears. If it is lack of knowledge, find ways to educate yourself about the subject matter. Take a course, do the research on the web, find a mentor, a life coach. Associate with people who will encourage and guide you. Address all the reasons why you feel fearful and diffuse the fear. As you gain more knowledge your level of confidence will grow simultaneously. High self-confidence will replace doubts and fear.

    Positive self-talk is another way to reinforce confidence and diminish fear. Giving positive self-affirmations is a form of self-conditioning that replaces the doubts lodged in the subconscious. Remind yourself that "you can" achieve.

    Alternative tools for dealing with the anxiety caused by fear are neurofeedback and biofeedback therapies. These modalities help to reduce the effects of fear conditioning, restore clearer objectives, and create more focus on the goals at hand. To this end the individual can progress at a faster pace.

    Most importantly, take action. Don't just sit around hoping, thinking and planning forever, or waiting for the right time to act. The best time to start is today. Jump in! Figure out what you're good at and make that move right now. The best way to overcome fear is by being proactive. With each effort your level of confidence increases.

    Above all, believe through faith that you can overcome your fears and achieve your goals. Believe that you can accomplish great things in your life.

    Remember having fears is a normal part of what makes us human. It is an emotion just like love, happiness, or sadness. The problem arises when fear has so much control over your life that it hinders your ability to succeed at achieving your goals. The most successful people have fears. They just NEVER let their fears hold them back. So how badly do you want to overcome your fears? How badly do you want to lose the fear factor?

    Quotes on Fear

  • "Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is." - German proverb

  • "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." -Dale Carnegie

  • "Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  • "Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear." -Dale Carnegie

  • "The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear."-Gandhi

  • "Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." - Bertrand Russell.

  • "Fear of self is the greatest of all terrors, the deepest of all dread, the commonest of all mistakes. From it grows failure. Because of it, life is a mockery. Out of it comes despair."- David Seabury.

  • "The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear" Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Use these Quotes on Fear to see fear factor in your life in a new perspective.

    Coping With Fear

    In todays world we have much more access to current news and happenings from every part of the globe in record time. Many of us may not be directly impacted by many of these events, yet we still deal with the fear factor and the troubling violence we see or hear around us. Just imagine how it must be for those whose lives are directly hit with terror, violence, and death each day. Those who have been directly impacted must seek professional help in coping with fear. It’s a difficult thing to face alone. For those of you who are terrified by the news and the fear you feel you must learn to cope with it or it can become a habit and take over your life. When this happens we lose control of our lives and how to effectively reach our goals.

    Here are some tips to ward off the fear factor:

  • Communicate your fears or worries to someone. When you voice your concerns by talking to others, you will receive emotional support and a sense of relief. You will find that others share similar emotions as you do. It's ok to admit you are fearful - don't forget its a normal human emotion. Being fearful and talking about it doesn't mean you're admiting weakness. It only allows you to unburden your concerns and release them from your psyche.

  • After you have received the information you need, turn off the television. There is no need to keep watching. The media in their competition for ratings, sensationalizes and repeats the same sad, disturbing news. Each time they add a new spin to it adding more reinforcement to the fear factor. Remember you have ultimate control of your television. Don’t allow it control you by bringing more fear and sadness into your home. It's unfortunate but we as a society have become programed to dwell on negative news. It's time to take control of what you allow in your home. This is a must in coping with fear.

  • Don’t just sit around in a daze dwelling on the bad news you might have heard that day. Stay active- continue with your exercise routine. Go for a walk or a jog around the block. It releases the hormones, endorphins that help to bring more peace and happiness and remove the fear factor.

  • Maintain a social life. When you feel fearful, it's not the time to crawl into a shell and hibernate. Instead, try very hard to continue with life as usual. Visit with friends and family. Keep laughter alive. Use this time to bond with your loved ones and to show your appreciation for them.

  • Try not to pass your fears on to your children. It's good to be cautious but passing your fears on to them is not the best thing to do. Children need to be reassured that they are safe and by seeing you in a panic only worsens their fears. Create a family emergency plan in case there is ever a problem and let your child know of it so they feel confident of what to do if there is ever a problem.

  • Other ways of coping can be through relaxation techniques such as yoga, biofeedback, meditation, or good old-fashioned prayer. These techniques teach you how to breathe effectively, which can help to relieve you of your fears.

  • Don’t forget the community around you. Bring comfort to others who may not have a loved one or a family. Do something nice for someone. Put some love back into your community. Spreading love and unity can help to add more peace in the world. We often tend to focus on the problems in our society rather than focusing on how to be part of the solution. Creating solutions for helping can alleviate the fear we are programmed to carry inside.


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