Sunday, March 15, 2009

False Evidence Appearing Real - FEAR is All Around Us

I am sure that you have noticed that fear surrounds us. Not since 9/11 have I seen so much fear among the general population. Fear of losing a job. Fear of not being able to find a job. Fear of having wages or benefits reduced. Fear of having a medical emergency and being without health care insurance. Fear of having to work way past 65 in a work place that often exhibits unsaid age bias. Fear of losing your home. Fear of losing more of your retirement funds. Etc. Etc.

In connection with my work with peak performers, I have been studying the emotion of "fear" for many years. As you know, fear can trigger physiological defensive reactions that are quite helpful...they even could be life saving. But, fear also can be debilitating. What I am seeing a lot of is people whose fear is debilitating...people who could improve their productivity and quality of life if they could manage fear better.

What fears do you currently have that are being counterproductive to your prospering in these tough times?
My most powerful lessons in managing fear came through my six Outward Bound wilderness experiences (the lessons from which were described in a series that starts here). Each of these 10-12 day experiences contained elements that forced me to deal with a variety of fears (heights, cold, heat, whitewater, etc.). From these experiences, I learned about the power of looking at fear through the prism of the acronym F.E.A.R., False Evidence Appearing Real . I have learned to challenge feelings of fear with the test of "is this just False Evidence Appearing Real?"

Well, I know most readers of this blog are not about to go off on an Outward Bound experience to learn how to better manage their fears. A quicker and less expensive way to learn more about managing fears is a wonderful book by Joseph Bailey, Fearproof Your Life, How to Thrive in a World Addicted to Fear.

Bailey does an excellent job of explaining fear and of laying out specific ways to break away from the tyranny of living in continual fear.

These really are tough times for so many Americans. But, they need not be times that you fear. Manage your fear and you will be taking an important first step in embracing the recession, the subject of a four part series that starts here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While fear can be managed, fear is not an inappropriate reaction to much of what is going on right now.

I think a sitting down with your fear(s), writing them down on a piece of paper, talking to wives and family about them is probably a good idea.

Fear starts to control you when you don't actually face it and attempt to address what can REALLY be done about it.But being afraid is a very realistic response to what's happening out there. And after figuring out what you can and cannot do about something, you may still end up being rationally very afraid.

The adage False Evidence Appearing Real = FEAR isn't really accurate. There is plenty of REAL evidence that is REAL and there is plenty to be afraid of. Many of the issues you cite are REALLY happening to REAL people. That being said, it is still important to confront FEAR and to manage it.

But to suggest that when people are afraid they are somehow not seeing the truth around them is to not give them much credit.

Anybody who is NOT afraid right now is either not paying attention or has been in cash for 18 months.