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I've always loved the title of Susan Jeffers' book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. As someone who, like most people, is often troubled by fear, I loved the powerful message in those words. But how do we do it?
To me, simple answers are the best. Don't take me on a winding journey when the direct route will do. With all the fear factors we face on a daily basis, how can we continue to move forward powerfully? Here are some suggestions that have worked for me.
Stop Scaring Yourself: The other day my clock radio awakened me with the news â€“ the Michigan economy was bad, New York was experiencing floods due to heavy rains, and lightning struck elsewhere, disabling a city. I awoke with a feeling of dread; and a determination to change the radio station.
When we focus on negative, frightening experiences, that is what we attract into our lives. Our inner world creates our outer world, and each of us is wearing a miner's hat with a single beam on it. We can either choose to look at the gold, or look at the dirt. If we look at the bad, bad is what we will get. If we look at the good, good is what we find.
I am tired of hearing people make remarks about Michigan like "the one state recession." How about the fact that we have the largest supply of fresh water in all the United States? In the long run this will be a lot more important than a temporary economic slowdown. By focusing on the fear instead of the opportunity, we are creating the very thing we fear; economic distress.
During the Great Depression, the country was in a tailspin as one major institution after another went under. It was a domino effect. The more we panicked about the economy, the worse it got.
Finally, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought the assistance of Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. Along with other key players, they crafted a "say good things about America" campaign in which the press joined. It wasn't about political parties or polarizations of any other kind; it was about Americans saying good things about America. All factions joined together to focus on the good. Using this approach our country was able to recover from the Great Depression and soar to incredible new heights.
If we turn our miner's hats on the golden opportunity that is inherent in every problem, we free ourselves to make choices that support our highest good.
Change Your Focus. Have you ever watched a dog chew a rawhide bone? They chew and pull at it incessantly, usually leaving a gummy mess. This is what we do every time we obsess about a problem. We don't solve it, and we usually make a mess of it.
Yet how can we break the cycle of negativity we may habitually return to? Do you recall the movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? In it, Actor Marlee Matlin plays a photographer going through a spiritual learning experience. In one scene, she is sent to photograph a wedding. One of the guests has an experience where someone accidentally spills wine on her dress and she exclaims "Why does this always happen to me?"
Although it's been awhile since I've seen it, the movie then shows how neurons that play together, stay together. Meaning if we are someone who "gets off" on feeling sorry for ourselves we are bound to attract situations that elicit this response. Just as a drug user needs increasing amounts to achieve the same "high," when we get off on pain we need to create increasingly bad situations to elicit the same result. On the other hand, if we choose to form new connections and decide to focus on positive stimuli, we form new, positive connections.
Simple ways abound to break the negativity cycle. For myself and many friends, exercise is a great way to do this. Recently I found myself "chewing the rawhide bone," leading to feelings of fear and stress. I grabbed a set of 5 pound weights and took off for a walk, doing a series of different arm exercises as I marched. My goal became keeping excellent posture until I reached a certain sign, or a certain street.
I began walking faster and faster, enjoying the concentration on these simple exercises and the immediate gratification of achieving the simple goals. By the time I completed my walk I felt energized, my head had cleared, fear lifted, and I saw my problem in a new light, which of course immediately revealed the solution.
For others the same relief may come through gardening, watching a comedy, or spending time with family. The point is, an activity that involves all of your senses, taking you out of the fear momentarily. A mind focused in fear produces fearful solutions, clenching up and blinding us to the positive answers that are right in front of us. By breaking that chain, we allow our natural wisdom to rise to the surface and guide us. Luckily, it doesn't take genius or years of spiritual work to adopt these simple yet life-changing solutions. It only takes action in the now.
Buddha said that the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. Use these simple strategies to take you past fear and go for what your heart desires in the present moment. Don't let fear stop you. Do it anyway!
It's time for us to take off, my friends. If you're really ready to change your life, if you've learned, as Helen Keller said, that life is either a daring adventure or nothing, then I suggest you try the Millionaire Mind Intensive for yourself. The push you get may scare you, but that's the price for learning to fly.