The voices of fear and doubt are like cancer.
This is likely going to be a controversial statement. Many friends and family members (including myself) have had someone pass away from cancer. I don’t make this analogy because I am not sympathetic towards cancer victims. I make this analogy because of how deeply this resonates with all of us on some kind of level. The voices of fear and doubt are like cancer…often times they show up undetected at first – only become known when the damage is irreparable. All too often, the result of cancer is death.
This is a strong analogy, but I believe it to also be an accurate one. If we succumb to the voices of fear and doubt, our life often becomes dull, boring and meaningless. For a while, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Besides, we worked so hard to ensure that we got all of this.
But back to the original question: What do my voices of fear and doubt tell me?
I suppose the voices of fear and doubt tell me one and one thing only…they tell me considerably less than they used to. In the past, I let these voices dominate my thoughts. My thoughts formed the basis of the decisions on which I took action. It is safe to say that fear and doubt were the drivers of much of my past actions taken. Over the past few years, I have worked hard to obtain a level of control in my life that I have always seemed to struggle with. I try not to be driven by fear and doubt, however I am human and this will always remain with me. So…to answer the question of what my voices of fear and doubt tell me…the answer is simply, “Less than they used to.”
In keeping with moving through the writing exercises, Step 3 of this process was:
“Mock each fear you write down. “
In the book Start, by Jon Acuff, he continues by providing a good example of mocking the exaggerated fear. I strugged with this, only because one of the things required to complete this step is work. While I’m not opposed to work, this work requires thinking…and Sunday afternoons are supposed to be limited in the amount of thinking we do. However, I’ve never really ben one to follow the rules and structure just because…so we’ll go ahead and bend the rules to suit my liking. While I don’t have a notebook full of little snippets of what the voices of fear and doubt have told me…I do have an example of some exaggerated fears to write about for the purposes of this exercise.
One of my fears is my epilepsy. While it’s hard to exaggerate the fear to simply laugh at it…I understand the objective behind laughing at our fears. For when we laugh at our fears (which ironically is Step 4 of this process), we realize we are human. When we realize we are human, we can realize the potential that lies within each and every one of us. When we understand that this potential within us is limitless, we can face our fears and truly begin living.
Look for patterns in your voices. Fear always likes to pretend it’s brand new each time. It’s not. Chances are you’ll be able to identify four or five primary fears at the root of every voice.
This is amazing, because I think Jon Acuff hits the nail on the head with this statement. He suggests that by identifying the patterns in these voices of fear that we can more effectively deal with the root of our fears. I believe that identifying and working with the root cause of our problems is the most effective way to spend energy towards finding and implementing a solution. The act of changing behaviors and looking at life’s challenges almost as an investigator making observations in order to collect data for processing on the back end to before drawing a conclusion is new behavior for me.
Fear masquerades as new because it wants you to waste energy looking for a new way to fight it. Now that we know we’ve seen it before, we can look for a successful tool we’ve used in the past to combat it. What’s something that has worked for you before that could work for you today?
Previously, we discussed that making observations in order to identify patterns in life can help us effectively find and identify the best solution. For me, the best and most successful tool I have in my possession brings me back to Step 1 with the journal. While I had been an aspiring writer for about 20 years, or the bulk of my adult life…I have remained aspiring. As we know, by the titles of my blog posts today, Action Always Beats Intention.
For me, the best way to learn this was to engage in more regular practice of the act of writing. Since I wanted this change, I was ready to take some drastic measures in order to do this. I began a hiatus from all social networking. The idea was to devote most of the time I wasted on social media, towards writing and journaling my experiences while doing so.