The scientific reason for why you might never do anything great: fear
It’s 2:00 AM and you suddenly jerk awake from your sleep. A loud banging noise in the kitchen jarred you out of your deep snooze and you sit up in your bed holding your breath for what seems like an hour. Your heart races. Muscles tighten.
Upon further investigation you determine that it was a pot that fell in the shelf. It was stacked in a hurry the evening before after dinner and dishes were cleaned, eventually sliding off the stack.
Our brain can’t tell the difference between a real threat to our lives and one we just imagine.
Seeing a spider, hearing a bump in the night, a knife to the throat, or standing up in front of a crowd of people all trigger the same exact reaction in the brain.
Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stimulus and ends with the release of stress chemicals into the body, adrenaline, epinephrine, and other chemicals. This is what is known as the fight or flight response. Your body produces this reaction for your good. Your heart rate speeds up, muscles tighten, and all of your senses become generally more alert, preparing you to do everything you have to in order to survive.
It is a response that was originally built into us for our survival from real danger. To the brain, nothing is a false alarm, everything is treated the same, real or not.
A bump in the night is rarely an actual burglar but for our own safety, the brain analyzes the worst case scenario first.
Programmed fears put us in a “safe” box
We never consciously trigger this reaction, this is solely on the part of your brain. Over your lifetime you program your mind into what it is today. Spiders are hardly a threat but we scream like little kids because we screamed when we WERE little kids, usually developing our fear of spiders from our parents and peers not from an actual bad experience. Day by day we learn to be “safe” and slowly develop our minds into what they perceive as dangerous or harmful.
“Don’t climb that, you will get hurt”
“Don’t play there because you will get kidnapped”
“Don’t say that because you will look stupid”
“Don’t try that, it’s for professionals”
“Don’t start that because you don’t have enough money”
“Don’t write that, who do you think you are?”
“You can’t invent that. That takes a genius”
You see where this is headed?
Fear is a nasty, paralyzing thing when it’s not used as it was originally designed to. We taught ourselves everything that we deemed “harmful” to our ego, reputation, and social life and now anytime we want to step out and do something cool and worthwhile like change the world, our brain kicks off and shuts us down for our own good, protecting us from failure and rejection. Now we can’t stand up in front of an audience and speak without sweating and heart pounding like a drum in our chest, the fear of rejection is causing our brain to throw us into flight mode.
Do cool s**t
You live your fears as if they were already realized as far as your brain is concerned so you might as well get a chance at proving them wrong!
Here is some advice I beg for you to follow. It worked and still works for me every day. Use a whiteboard, permanent marker, or a sticky note, and write this somewhere you can see it every day. I have this on my whiteboard and write it on my hand daily:
DO. COOL. S**T.
This is your daily reminder to never back down from an opportunity to do something crazy or cool. Fear is always right around the corner the minute you decide to do something worthwhile with your life. Do it anyway!
Anytime I set my mind on something new, I get flooded with two emotions. First is excitement, second comes fear. It never fails. However, when you make up your mind to run towards your fears, no matter how much your body is screaming “Danger” and you decide that you will take any and every opportunity to dominate your fears, crazy and beautiful things begin to happen
There is a better way to live!
Originally published at speaklife365.com on April 30, 2016.