When looking a people who have success and compare them with those who fail, there is one attribute that stands out among those who are unable to succeed. This one thing can have a crippling effect upon a person, derailing their hopes and desires, pushing them off their path towards what they desire in their lives. What is it, you ask?
For decades, my life was held back in ways I didn’t even realize because of one simple thing.
Not being able to swim!
It may sound simple, but it was a debilitating fear that held me back from socializing with others at pool parties, not having fun at the beach, and feeling sad while I saw others swimming in the water with ease and joy.
Once I learned to overcome the fear of swimming, no, let me clarify that, the fear and panic of drowning, it opened my life to many other adventures in health, spirituality, mental discipline, and just overall fun!
A word with four simple letters—fear—has caused millions of lives to come and go from this world unfulfilled, robbing our lives of so much untapped knowledge and information. Millions that have taken their ideas and dreams to the grave, not realizing the massive impact that they could have had, not only upon themselves, but the world overall.
Now, it’s important to understand this point. Those who are successful don’t have an absence of fear. They simply are more skilled in minimizing its effect upon their mental thoughts and physical actions.
Today, I am going to show you that fear occurs in various stages and as you become more successful with overcoming it, there is a transition between multiple levels. As you progress, you will go from having fear triggered as an automated unconscious response, setting you up for failure, towards overcoming it unconsciously, leading towards your success.
Once you begin to understand the stage of fear that you are in, you will have a better understanding of where you are, and the steps needed to get to the highest level of consciousness for overcoming fear.
Let’s look at the 4 basic levels of consciousness and then you will see how it parallels the stages of fear.
This is the stage where you don’t know what you don’t’ know. There are flaws and faults that you have struggles that you are going through, but the problem is that you are oblivious to them. Being here means that you are truly clueless, kind of like a ship sailing out of the harbor in the middle of the night without lights, a captain or a functional rudder. You just move around aimlessly without any direction until you crash into something.
Here, you are moving closer towards the mindset that you desire. At least you know that you have flaws and problems. This is the stage where you recognize that there is a problem, whether it be personally, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, financially or mentally. However, the issue is that you have no clue on how to correct it. At least your flaws and deficits are recognized, which helps you seek the answers that you need to move to the next stage.
Finally, you have achieved the skills, lessons or attributes that you require to move you forward in the direction that you desire. However, you must consciously think about incorporating them. You still need outside influences, like a mentor, instructor or tool that reminds you about how to do the skill or lesson or how to take action upon it. For a few people, they want more in life and desire to reach the final and highest stage…
At this level, you are basically on autopilot. You move through the mental and physical tasks without even thinking about it. They are so ingrained within your personality that they are automatic for you and you don’t even realize you are doing it.
So, you may ask, what does this have to do with overcoming fear? It’s basically the same process, where your fears go through several stages, ranging from the fear being so overwhelming that you don’t even realize you have it towards overcoming fear so effectively that you are not aware you are doing so. To make sense of this, I use acronyms to help you make sense of each stage. They are all resolved around F.E.A.R. so as you study these, you will begin to realize which of the 4 levels you are in and if it isn’t level 4, you have a target to go for!
False Evidence Appearing Real (unconscious incompetence of your fear)
This is pretty much the most damaging level of fear to be at.
Because you don’t even realize that you have a fear and that is crippling. You may be hesitant to start a new job, grow a business, do a dream that you desire because of past failures, setbacks, lack of support or humiliation from others. It’s basically the attitude that “life happens” and you don’t even try because your fear is subconscious, preventing you from not even getting off of the starting blocks in your life.
You won’t try and you have quit before you start.
Forget Everything And Run (conscious incompetence of your fear)
Well, at least you consciously realize that you have fears that are holding you back from achieving what you desire in life. You are not running on an automatic subconscious program that prevents you from trying. However, the problem is that you start to move towards your goal and a fear stops you dead in your tracks because you don’t have the skills, techniques or mental discipline to overcome it.
You will try and you have quit after you start.
Face Everything And Rise (conscious competence of your fear)
Now you are rolling!
You have discovered strategies and techniques for overcoming the fear and achieving the results that you desire and deserve. Still, you need to consciously think of the process, whether it be mantras, visualization, statements of affirmation or any number of tools that one can utilize for minimizing the effects of fear. Getting here takes effort and if you have reached this level, congratulations is in order. Still, there is more potential within you because fear still does intermittently creep upon you consciously.
You will try and you have succeeded after you start.
Forward Evolution Automatic Results (unconscious competence of your fear)
Your fears are simply an afterthought at this stage because you are unconsciously doing the things that are necessary to overcome them. Gone are the days where you have to remind yourself of the little tips and techniques to do when fear arises within. You have evolved, and continue to grow mentally where any task or challenge that you desire is at a level where success is automatic because you have no doubts or fear that you will not achieve it.
The question that you should be asking yourself is this:
“What fears do I have and what are they preventing me from achieving?”
Yes, it will take some time and it’s not a process that will happen overnight but as you are reading this and reflecting upon the words and hearing yourself ask the question, you will begin to realize that there is so much more that you are capable of achieving.
It all starts with the first step and recognizing the fear.
Own it and acknowledge it.
Stay humble and be willing to start the process to overcome it, reaching the 4th level of unconscious competence.
Evaluate your process along the way and never quit.
Realize that the focus is not just about the destination of getting to the highest levels but also about the journey, one where you grow, self-reflect and realize that you are successful for just starting, despite the challenges and setback that occur along the journey.