July 28th, 2011

fearless“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fate loves the fearless.” — James Russell Lowell

What are you afraid of?  I’m afraid of LOTS of things!  That may surprise some people who know me because they interpret my lifestyle as that of one who is fearless.      

I’m afraid of not being good enough at just about everything.  I’m afraid of getting into trouble with “the authorities”.  I’m very afraid of public speaking.  I’m afraid my past mistakes will come back to haunt me.  I’m afraid of not having enough money.  I’m afraid my kids will grow up and forget me, or not like me, or somehow be screwed up because of me.  I’m afraid my boyfriend will leave me and I’m simultaneously afraid we might be together for the rest of our lives… ETC, ETC, ETC!

Being afraid doesn’t stop me from moving confidently in the direction of my dreams.  This is key.  When it comes to fearlessness, I like Mark Twain’s observation, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not [necessarily] absence of fear.”   

Do you have fears that are holding you back?  Please consider this:

Many people have made the mistake of habitually interpreting the feeling of excitement as fear and anxiety, and therefore interpreting it as a proof of inadequacy.

Any normal person who is intelligent enough to understand the situation becomes “excited” or “nervous” just before a crisis situation.  Until you direct it toward a goal, this excitement is neither fear, anxiety, courage, confidence, or anything else other than a stepped-up, re-inforced supply of emotional steam in your boiler.  It is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of additional strength to be used in any way you choose. – Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S., Psycho-Cybernetics

Next time you’re afraid, do what I do.  Try to imagine the worst possible outcome if your worst fears come true.  How would you feel?  What would you do then?  It’s highly unlikely that the worst case scenario will come true and yet, usually, even if it did, you’d be OK.  However, the more you focus on a negative outcome the more likely it is that it actually will come true, so don’t stay there too long!

Now, imagine the best possible outcome if you do the thing you’re afraid to do.  How would you feel?  What would you do then?  The more you concentrate on the best case scenario, the more likely it is that it will come true.  This is the benefit of such tools as Vision Boards and Magic Movie Clips.

I’ve found that if I’m going to make up a story about how things will turn out then, for God’s sake, it’s more sensible to make up a story where I WIN!  And the more times I win, the less things I’m afraid of.  Yes, believe it or not, my list of neurotic fears used to be much, much longer!

What fears have you overcome?  What did you learn?  What’s the next fear you’re going to tackle?  Share your success stories below to inspire us and share your dreams so we can hold a vision of your future success!











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24 Responses to “fearless”

  1. Martha Orlando

    Hi, Linda!

    This was a fantastic commentary on our fears and how to face them. I’m glad my friend, Debra, inspired this in you. Isn’t it wonderful to have blogging friends who can lift up and encourage one another? I, for one, am truly thankful for this!

    I did state in Debra’s blog that I had a fear of heights in narrow places where I could not be sure of my footing. On our honeymoon, my husband took me to a trail in the Smokeys where, at certain points, you had to walk upon a narrow footbridge with a prayer of a handle-hold above a stream, and I lost it so completely that I was reduced to tears. Danny was so patient with me and understanding as the few others traversing that trail and witnessing my breakdown, were, at the same time, thinking I was a looney-tune.

    We can’t judge the fears in others, we can only try to help as Danny did that day for me, determined to find other ways across those now seemingly small bridges, praying with me, and promising to never let go of my hand. That made all the difference on the return journey where those hideous bridges were once again encountered. I remember saying, “I made it!” with joy in my soul and thankfulness for Danny and the Lord, the ones who pulled me through.


  2. Dangerous Linda

    Hi, Martha! —

    I can totally relate to your story because fear of heights is one of my many fears included in the “ETC” category. The funny thing is that I always forget I have a fear of heights until I find myself someplace high and then the reality comes crashing back into my consciousness — haha!

    When I took my kids to visit the Grand Canyon many years ago I could not even approach the canyon. It was as if it was going to reach up and grab me and pull me in! I dropped to my belly and sort of crawled back to the car much to the amusement of my (now, ex-) husband.

    It seems that you had a much more supportive experience which brought you and your sweetheart closer together. Makes me misty!

    Thank you for visiting and sharing your story — please come back soon!!


  3. Savira

    Fear…. I wrote about it a very long time ago… I now try and befriend fear… and below is why


  4. Dangerous Linda

    Hi, Savira! —

    Thank you for sharing your post from the past. I love to see the different ways people deal with this important and universal subject.

    The fear you described feeling before teaching your first Yoga class reminds me of my fear of public speaking, too. Once I actually fainted onstage because of my intense anxiety during a humorous storytelling contest! The funniest part of the story is that I won the contest — haha! The audience thought my fall was part of my act! Anyway, now I always bring a stool onto the stage with me

    I believe the nervousness we feel in situations like that is because we really, REALLY want our audience or students to have a great experience. When we channel that energy into our “performance”, as you did in that first class, everybody wins!

    Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation!


  5. Debra

    Aquaphobia. There’s the story of diving off the deep end when I could no more swim than I could fly. I was an adult before I decided I should take swimming lessons. However, the lessons were the last time I jumped in a pool. The ‘deep end’ experience is a pattern

    Okay. The next fear to tackle is finding the right agent. I still have a novel manuscript in my hall closet upstairs in a box because I sent the first 50 pages (at her request) to ONE agent in ’99. When she responded and said she didn’t take new novelists, I backed off and found a home for my magnum opus and it hasn’t come out of the closet since. But this may be my year.


  6. Dangerous Linda

    Hi, Debra! —

    So far I have shared every fear that’s been revealed on this page and yours is no different — haha!

    When I was about 10 years old I went to the beach with a friend’s family who were all award winning swimmers. I was too embarrassed to tell them that I had never been allowed in water over my head before. So, I jumped off the life guard tower and into the (very deep!) lake. That’s how I learned to swim!

    OK — Now that I’ve thought this through, I realize this was fear of embarrassment not fear of water!

    As for finding an agent, I’m holding you in my heart! I see you perfectly matched and successful beyond your wildest dreams! I will be happy to say “I knew her when …”



  7. rimly

    Oh I fear so many things but most of all dying all by myself, to come home every day to an empty house. So what I am trying to do about it? Imagining my life alone but free to do anything I want to. Being a single parent my fear is also of my son. I worry and am scared for him all the time, I tend to get overprotective but I know when I push it too hard and then I back off. Finally I leave it to god, he has carried the two of us till now, he will do the same till the end. Loved this post Linda.

    My latest post


  8. colleen

    What an interesting post Linda! I always find it so…I don’t know…unfortunate perhaps that fear is something that we experience on so many levels in so many ways as human beings. There are basic normal fears and then there are crippling fears. I definitely have a couple things that send me into panic mode, like spiders and enclosed winding staircases but there are also deeper, more basic fears concerning safety, children, pretty much everything under the sun sometimes!:) I try not to worry and I generally try to face my fears except spiders.;) I very often pray for the strength to give my fears over to God and live a life free of needless anxiety.

    Again such a fascinating topic…it really makes me think! Have a great day Linda!


  9. Clarence

    Fear. Anxiety. I like what Maltz says about it. I used that kind of fear quite well when I was a hockey goalie. Getting a goal scored on you might not seem like a big fear, but to be a teenager in front of 2,000 people–adolescent senses of adequacy, etc… it was big. The cool thing is that I was able to physically and emotionally combat the fear with the strenuous physical activity that hockey is and understand that I had the tools in my hands, on my feet and on my body to respond: the anxiety was a motivator and was handled as soon as the action started.

    The trick is to know when that strategy will not work, which I think is in more situations that we realize.

    Fear is also good when it tells us the things that we should really stay away from. The open mouth of a lion isn’t a good place to be, and we should be afraid of that. Staying away from the zoo because of that… well, that doesn’t help. I have to remember that dealing with fear should, in 99 percent of the cases, should be as simple as looking both ways before crossing the street.


  10. Pamela

    Great post. Gotta love Twain! Lots of insights! Fear can be a powerful motivator as long as you use the emotion for positive action (as you eloquently said)!


  11. Larry Lewis

    As a youngster, maybe up to about 14, i was scared of everything. I was timid, shy, everything unknown was full of fear for me. An event, showed me shy bairns get nowt. I realised that if you could your fears, you could do, achieve everything. So now i’ve jumped out of airplanes, been shot at, walked the burning coals at Tony Robbins event, stood in front of 500 people and spoken to them with authority, and sat in a car with my daughter driving, i know that nothing is impossible. Mind you i’m not sure i want to be left in a bath with hundreds of creepy crawlies.


  12. Dangerous Linda

    @Rimly — Your comment touches my heart. I remember feeling that way when I was a single mom, too. In fact, you stir too many empathetic memories for me to even put into a response! Remember to LAUGH! And as you say, faith in a power greater than ourselves is sometimes the saving grace! xoxox

    @Colleen — Because you live in Norway, it impacts the context of our discussion about fear, right? Sorry to put that on you. How can I tell you (or anyone else) that “everything will be fine” after what we have seen? Maybe we cannot pray for lack of pain but rather for the strength to deal with whatever happens ….


  13. Dangerous Linda

    Hi, Clarence! —

    Thank you for sharing your experience as a teenage hockey goalie. Sounds like good training ground for many valuable qualities, including the transmutation of fear.

    I’m intrigued by your comment about “…when that [Maltz’s] strategy will not work, which I think is in more situations that we realize.” Can you say more about this?

    One thing I’m realizing through this discussion is that there is sort of a differentiation between “fears” and “phobias”. They share similar aspects but impact us differently — I wonder if that’s what you’re getting at?


  14. rhyme me a smile

    Thanks for the encouragement. I needed that.


  15. Dangerous Linda

    @Pamela: Agreed — Thanks for stopping by and sharing your two cents

    @Larry: I love this “shy bairns get nowt”! That’s quite a list of accomplishments! I agree with your life philosophy and I refuse to let my fears hold me back. Thanks for visiting and joining the conversation! I can always count on you for a good pep-talk!

    @Rhymie: You’re welcome. Thanks for the luv!


  16. jan

    Fear, I have lived myentire lie afraid of something. Walking through each and every one seems to be the way I cope.


  17. Nelieta

    Interesting post Linda! I have many fears Let´s see. I think first it must be the fear of dying..the “unknown” and what will be happening to me in the process. I also have a fear of people (loved ones) leaving me. The fear of not being good enough or loved. The fear of belonging..oh maybe I should stop!


  18. Dangerous Linda

    @Jan — A woman after my own heart! Thank you for sharing

    @Nelieta —

    First, I must say I’m so impressed by everyone’s openness to admitting their fears. I thought this was a weakness we would all want to hide. I find this sharing sort of liberating!

    Secondly, Nelieta, I think most people can relate to the fears you describe. I wonder how you cope with your fears?

    Personally, I am not really afraid of death or the unknown. In fact, I get into trouble when I make up fearful scenarios which I apply to the unknown. Then, I become afraid of it — haha!

    And yet you travel all over the world which is one of my fears! What an amazing bunch of brains and emotions we are!!!


  19. Jessica Mokrzycki

    A very motivating post. Thanks


  20. Dangerous Linda

    Thanks for stopping by to say “Hi!” Jessica!


  21. Brenda

    I don’t think about things, which probably explains my life and some of the strife I could write about. To answer you question, I leap and later, the fear of something sets in. Now my fear is that I discovered I wanted to write books and poems after spending too long in the corporate world. I am still there because it funds the other passion. As your others have said, motivating and thought provoking. We only have to dream to soar, and then take the first step.


  22. Dangerous Linda

    Ah, Brenda! —

    I know about the corporate funded art-life of which you speak!

    I’m confident that you have not, in fact, spent too long in the corporate world to now write books. I hold a vision of you in my heart and mind writing and getting published in perfect timing ;-x

    Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation!


  23. Joy Manuel

    I’m a fearful person too. So next time, I shall remember your advice….think of the best and worst case scenarios and know that I will be fine either way Thank you for sharing your wisdom!


  24. Dangerous Linda

    Hi, Joy! —

    Thank you for stopping by to say “Hi!”

    For best results, make sure you spend most of your time visualizing the BEST case scenario



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