I spent some time with a business owner recently who talked of his fears for the future of his business, how he was afraid of what others would think of him if his business collapsed and, as a result, how he feared for his marriage too. Although he believed his problems to be unique (don’t we all), the conversation reminded me of many that I have had over the years. It reminded me of all the media stories – that “markets are gripped by fear”, people are “fearful for their jobs” and that people are “afraid they will lose their homes”. At times like this, perhaps it’s more than Personal Development that we need!

Evidently, all these issues are, indeed, real problems. However, just how real are they? The author, Susan Jeffers has, for many years now, suggested that you “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” But fear is not real. Fear, like beauty, is in the mind of the beholder! Actually, fear is simply a useless thought. Such useless thoughts disable us from taking action – so that we wind up reacting and making matters worse.

Many years back, during one of my Self Improvement Workshops, someone who has turned out to be a long-term client took exception to my saying that I simply couldn’t understand his statement that “after my Dad’s business failed, we had to sell our house and move into a rented flat. We couldn’t even afford heating oil that winter and we were all freezing and I was so upset that we were all freezing”. In a recent conversation with the same guy, he understood what I had been saying. Sure, he was freezing – a simple fact. But acknowledging the fact and then feeling sorry for yourself, wallowing in it, feeling victimized, are two completely different things. Feeling sorry for yourself disables your ability to appropriately do what needs to be done to overcome the problem.

Again, clients have said to me that it’s all very well for me to point out the fact that we shouldn’t react to bad things happening, we shouldn’t be afraid of what might happen or shouldn’t fear the consequences of actions we really need to take – after all, I’m sitting high up in the French Alps enjoying life. But when they understand that I’ve been there – with a family and $18.58 left in the bank (after we’d been done over by some unscrupulous “investors”) they take my point. What is the point in feeling sorry for yourself, what is the point of being afraid? What is the point of being paralysed by fear?

If you are afraid, you have lost control of your mind. Your mind is controlling you. Decades research proves that, when we allow our minds to control us, we are unable to pay attention to the reality of the moment, unable to perceive the potential for opportunity and completely unable to take real action. Research also suggests that the average adult has 50,000 random thoughts each day, most of them useless, some of them, like “fear”, toxic.

Calm your mind. Come to your senses – you have five of them, use them to understand and experience what’s going on and how you can best act to create the kind of success and happiness that you want. This is not some kind of positive mental attitude nonsense that I’m peddling. The research that I’ve already mentioned has proved that our subconscious minds create our version of so-called “reality”. Harness your subconscious mind – so that you can take real action and completely change your life.

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