Choosing Fear

by Scott Morrice on 07/25/2012

I am finally starting to figure some of it out. Choosing fear is optional. Fear is not real, and it is important to realize that, especially with respect to its relationship with failure.

Unfortunately for nearly all of us, fear of failure is a common reaction. And it probably represents at least part of our lives on a daily basis. But it is actually something we choose to feel. And that is key—realizing that there is a choice here. And that can be liberating. At least it is for me.

For me the issue starts first of all with my perception of a given situation. I would suggest that to experience failure we have to first perceive the situation as just that—a failure. And therein lies the first hint—I would argue that we don’t necessarily have to perceive the event as a failure. We can probably choose to view it in many different ways—as a learning experience for example, as a first try, as a building block. The list goes on. So this is our first good, solid opportunity to ultimately deal with this issue.

The second opportunity to deal with this issue arises out of how we choose—there is that word again—to react to an event or a situation. When we experience fear, it is because ultimately we have chosen to experience fear. We could have, maybe not as easily, and maybe not without practice, chosen to react with total passivity. To suspend judgment for example.

Fear mostly arises, at least for me, in relationship to potential consequences.

Again, the word “potential” is a hint. When you really think about it, we live in the now—we do not live in the past, or the future. The reality we are living is completely, 100 per cent—now. The past has already happened and the future is still in front of us—a constantly moving target—we never get there. And so the now is the only reality that is actually affecting us at the moment. We can of course plan for the future, and we should, but the only reality that is affecting us—the only reality that we should be living in–is the now.

Taking this a step further, if we are to live wholly in the present, wholly in the “now”, then to get there we must accept the situation that is our reality without judgment about whether the situation is unpleasant or bad.

Eckhart Tolle tells us that the primary cause of unhappiness (fear) is never the situation, but our thoughts about it. And I agree. The situation itself is always neutral. And it is the only thing that is real. What isn’t real is what we bring to it—which is our interpretation of it—and our interpretation of it is just that, an interpretation. It is not real.

Tolle encourages us to separate ourselves from those fearful thoughts—but if necessary, according to our circumstances, we can acknowledge their existence, and observe them, but we need to do so with detachment.

The result then is that our decisions about how to proceed are not based on our reactions—such as fear. And they will be better decisions.

As I said, I am finally starting to figure some of it out—but that doesn’t mean I am totally confident in my ability to follow through. I’m working on it tho’.

I’ll keep you posted.

  • Dnhiggins

    I like this….”separate ourselves from those fearful thoughts…”

    • scottmorrice

      Yes, so do I. But—a lot easier said than done! Good to hear from you.


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