Fear is a condition familiar to everyone. We are introduced to it at a young age and accompanied by it to the grave. Yet while fear is a thief robbing us of life and freedom, joy is a white knight restoring hope and peace.
Five common fears include:
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of failure
- Fear of death
- Fear of loneliness
- Fear of change
Are you personally familiar with any of these fears? What would life be like without them? What if you were fearless?
Path to Living Fearless (or a Little Less Fearful)
The first step is taking a quick inventory: List three things you fear most. Then ask, "Why do I have these fears?" Third, determine what you can do to reduce — or completely eliminate — the level of fear in each area. Finally, identify what is completely out of your control. Begin taking action with what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
For example, if you fear the effects of air pollution on your health, you can take the following steps:
- Use a valid air quality app
- Purchase air purifiers
- Purchase an N95-certified mask
Relational fears, such as fear of failure or rejection, typically stem from our own insecurities. The antidote for these fears is often getting to know who you really are. What do you believe, and why? What are your strengths or talents? Do you use them regularly? When we know and accept who we really are, live consistently with our beliefs and regularly employ our strengths, fear dissolves into non-existence.
Joy: The Antagonist of Fear
Even more powerful than focusing on reducing your fear levels is focusing on increasing your levels of joy. Have you ever met a joyful person who is full of fear? Probably not, because fear and joy are incompatible.
So the quickest way to become fear-less is to become joy-full.
The path to joy may be simpler than you think. Here are a few suggestions to begin the journey to joy (adapted from Amanda Gore):
- Gratitude — be thankful even in trials
- Compassion — towards self and others
- Hope — find the silver lining
- Honor — all people, regardless of position
- Generosity — give time and resources
- Forgiveness — for yourself and others, continuously
- Energy/Vitality — sleep and eat well, exercise, eliminate anger
- Listen — Seek first to understand and then be understood
- Laughter — every day from your belly. It works!
- Love — unconditionally
- Positive Attitude — at all times, regardless of the situation
If you already practice any of these suggestions, excellent. If not, your best success will begin with baby steps. Choose one area and become intentional. Map out your own journey to joy by journaling your progress or making simple daily notes in your calendar.
For example, if you are a complainer, choose to focus on being thankful for one week. Wake up and list five things you are thankful for, or say them out loud in the mirror. When you are tempted to complain (about the traffic, let’s say), be thankful instead (for your car, your driver, your safety). If you are persistent, you can change a negative pattern into a positive one.
“Every single business and educational outcome improves when we start at positive,” writes Shawn Achor. “Sales improve 37 percent ... productivity by 31 percent, you’re 40 percent more likely to receive a promotion, nearly 10 times more engaged at work, live longer, get better grades, your symptoms are less acute and much more.” If we give joy more ground and kick fear to the curb, empirical evidence shows our quality of life will significantly improve as a result.
And what if we place fear and joy face to face? Look at your list of fears and laugh at each one. I predict that in hand-to-hand combat, joy will conquer fear. Fear has the power to kill — but when joy is placed in the ring, it can unleash people to thrive.
Begin the journey today: less fear, more joy.
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About the AuthorTim MacDonald joined OneAccord as a Principal in 2018. He brought with him more than 25 years of senior management experience, having served in small, medium and global companies as president, vice president of sales and vice president of operations.
Prior to joining OneAccord, he started his own business, Chrysalis, in China, partnering with multinational corporations (MNCs) in the areas of supply chain, operational excellence and distribution across a variety of sectors including chemical, automotive and fast-moving consumer goods. Their clients include Bosch, Cargill and Coca-Cola.
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