NINTH ENGINE: FACE THE GREATEST FEARS & PROBLEMS BOLDLY
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears the most, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I met Ron, an eye-catching figure, at my 30-day Personal Mastery Seminar series held at Montreal in spring, 2004. Ron was a budding model, doing ramp shows, but looking for something bigger. He was drop-dead handsome and Brandon Routh, the latest Superman might envy him his physique. But where his confidence was concerned, well, it was a different story. I am a life coach, and within the first four days of the seminars he confided in me that I was perhaps was the only person in the world who could help him rebuild his confidence. I assured him I’d be happy to do my best.
I had to first figure out the cause behind his lack of confidence. My seminar started at 9 every morning. Before that I went for a 45 minute jog at 6 a.m. I asked him to join me. During the brief 25 minute conversation with him while jogging, it became clear to me that his lack of confidence was a result of fear. He had a deep underlying fear in his mind which he thought he would never overcome.
Digging deeper, I discovered that there was something that he was specifically afraid of, and it was FIRE. Ron had once witnessed a woman getting trapped inside her burning car. She had died trying to rescue herself, and all that Ron could do was watch helplessly in horror. Watching something like this actually happen in front of one’s eyes is a lot different from watching it in a movie. Ron was terribly moved by what he saw. It changed the conditioning of his mind and after this, the sight of fire made him feel nervous. Even the sight of someone light a matchstick made him uneasy.
I gave his phobia a lot of thought. I had been toying with an idea and had been contemplating it for some time now. It was a technique I wanted to demonstrate during one of my seminars and I thought the time was just right. It was a good opportunity to help Ron.. I arranged for the special event the following day. Though I had never done it before, I was confident that it would be a success. On a patch of green lawn outside the auditorium, I arranged for a 10 x 3 ft pile of wood and set it aflame. After some time when the flames died down leaving red-hot burning cinders, I called my audience to gather around. I knew I would have to walk first. I took off my shoes and socks and rolled up my trousers.
I walked on the fire. There was an excited buzz in the audience. Everyone wondered why I was performing this deed. I called members from the audience and asked them to copy me. After some initial hesitation, some of them walked on the fore, and before long, more people followed. They discovered that it is the resident fear in the mind, rather than the difficulty of the act, that scares us and prevents us from performing it. If you have a strong focus and the true intention, you can overcome any challenge. Fire-walking is a powerful metaphor to remind us that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. Do you believe you can walk on fire? What other beliefs do you have that empower or disempower you? Remember, if you have the intention to do something and you focus on it, you will act and acquire the desired results.
Intention => focus => action => results
I invited Ron to walk. He was very hesitant. I encouraged him “C’mon Ron, you can do it, you have to do it!” Others also started cheering Ron. He then proceeded to do so, but with cautiously. I did not go near him but allowed him do it on his own. And he did walk on the fire. Not once, not twice or thrice – but several times. There was loud applause for him. He had defeated his fear. He had conquered it.
Ron regularly exchanges e-mails with me now. He’s doing very well in his career after conquering his fear. He has been chosen as the male lead in a Canadian television series. I sincerely hope he emerges as a successful actor in the near future.
Fear is a mental state. The bigger you grow, the bigger will be your problems and fears. What is the solution? To not grow at all? To be happy with what you are? Do you think that is the best solution? Of course not! There wouldn’t have been any development in the world if everyone preferred to remain undersized to avoid fears and problems. Problems and fears are part of life. Like many other things in life, these become the essential components of our lives from a very early age. No sooner do we overcome one problem than we come face to face with another. Tackling one major fear or problem does not guarantee that another one is not around the corner.
Successful people never shrink away from their problems. They never run away. They accept problems as a fundamental part of life. In fact as you grow financially and mentally, the problems and fears that once appeared towering and staggering will not appear challenging anymore. Remember how difficult it seemed at age seven to get down that jar of goodies from the kitchen shelf? Something that seemed beyond reach became easier with the help of a chair at age ten, and later posed no problem at all. Our fears and problems are exactly like that. The dimension is only comparative. They are big when you are small and small when you are big.
Actor Robin Williams in an interview once said that he had been a very timid child and would shy away from dealing with problems. Whenever there was the possibility of a problem arising, he would turn away. It was then that his father said to him: “Son, learn to come face to face with your deepest fears, and they will never bother you again. The more you run away from them, the more they will bother you.” He followed his father’s simple advice and whenever there was fear mounting in him or a problem arising, he would just face it. The only way to face your deepest fears is to think of the worst that might happen. If you can imagine or visualize that, you will not feel afraid anymore. Supposing you have lied to someone about something important and there is a strong possibility that he will know the truth. The thought of that makes you nervous, you lose appetite, and you get nightmares. Think of the worst case scenario. What can happen at the worst? He might shout at you, slap you or sever ties with you. It cannot be much worse than that. You won’t be killed for lying. Be mentally prepared to face these consequences and you will feel much stronger. Given next are some proven ways with which you can fight fear and face problems better.
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