Fear and Change

Welcome to Rudan Thursdays where we talk about…things! Anything from books and movies, to blog posts and authors, to food and drink.

Last week I said we’d continue this little series on fear by talking about having the courage to overcome fear.

Eh. I changed my mind. My blog, my prerogative 😛

Nope, instead we’re going to chat about the importance of words and how they can not only affect our mindsets, but also the mindsets of those around us.

Several months ago, I took an online class taught by none other than Bob Mayer. During the course, he taught us the tenets of becoming a successful writer. Check out the information on his Warrior Writer workshops here.

So, here I was, trying to be a good pupil; sitting up straight in my seat, eyes focused and clear, no gum in sight, when I zero in on what Bob is trying to drill in our collective heads sharing with us.

First, he says when people fail to achieve their goals, it is because they have allowed fear to rule them.

Ok, that makes sense.

Then he asks, “How willing are you to change? Are you willing to learn from any source that helps you improve yourself? If you are not where you want to be, then you must change, rather than waiting for the world to come to you. Because guess what? It isn’t.”

What?

What do you mean I have to change? Are you saying that if I sit here long enough, someone won’t walk by with the answers to all of my problems wrapped up in a little box with a neat bow?

Well.

And then he hit me.

First, he smacked me in the back of the head with “To change, you have to be willing to say the three hardest words for many people, I am wrong.” Then, he followed it with a jarring slap to the face with, “You must be willing to surrender.”

Wow.

You must be willing to surrender.

You must be willing to say, “I am wrong.”

So here is where I figure Fear and Change come in.

We humans all have fears. Many of us fear change.

Last week we had some really great discussions on fear, and many of you shared yours. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my own fears. Really examining them in the harsh light…kinda like the light at the gym. Y’know, the one that insists on showing every flaw? Ugh, sometimes I wish I could smash every single—

Where was I?

Oh yeah, I, for one, have a fear not of failure itself, but of allowing myself to fail. I’m sure there is an even deeper meaning there, but I haven’t gotten to that layer within myself yet. It’s a darn good thing I’m stubborn!

As I alluded to earlier, I think the words we use and the mindsets we have are direct connections to the things we fear and the changes we need to make.

An example would be that negative person who almost always sees the glass half empty. When a positive person tries to encourage Mr. or Ms. Negative by offering suggestions or advice, they usually have an excuse as to why this suggestion or that piece of advice won’t work.

Me thinks someone’s a ‘fraidy cat.

Afraid of what? Of losing control. Of being wrong. Of letting go. Who knows, could be anything, but fear is most likely at the heart of the problem. And so, this fear triggers their mindsets, making them negative which in turn causes everything they say to be negative.

Perhaps, if they start from the opposite end, they could achieve that change without falling apart or hurting themselves. They could put positive spins on things rather than negative. A simple, “good morning” with a smile goes a long way. You’d be surprised how much your day can brighten with something as small as that. Those two words can have a powerful impact on a person’s mindset.

The more Mr. or Ms. Negative’s mindset changes for the better, the more aware they become of their words and their actions, and naturally the more positive and uplifting they will be all around.

And then, I’m guessing, being able to say, “I am wrong,” won’t be so hard.

Just a guess.

So talk to me. I want to know what all of you think about this. What do you fear? Are you open to change? What do you think about mindset and how it can affect a person’s overall personality?

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14 thoughts on “Fear and Change

  1. Kate! I think you’re on to something here. I am overweight. The pounds have just added up over the years. I’ve a young mindset, like to be active, but at this point my obesity is holding me back. I’m starting to have health issues. I’m a RN. I advise people every day on diet and exercise. Does the phrase “Physician, heal thyself” come to mind?
    When I read your post, I started nodding… and quaking in my keds. Not sure what my FEAR is, (well, that’s not entirely true, but don’t want to share it with the world here on your blog) but I know that it’s complex, and so deeply embedded in my psyche that my defense mechanism was to stop reading about half way thru your post. What am I afraid of? I am wrong? I must be willing to surrender? uh, yeah, that’s where the cold sweat broke out.
    So you’re saying that if someone becomes more positive in their every day life, then saying “I was wrong” won’t be so hard? I’m not sure I follow the logic of that, being positive vrs negative…. in relationship with the HUBRIS of being right vrs wrong? I agree that being positive is healthier for ones overall being.
    What about LETTING GO? It occurs to me that in order to admit that we’re wrong involves trust, in oneself, and in whomever we’re confessing our wrongness to. Perhaps we need to LET GO of the protective defense mechanism that has us putting on this facade of being right. Let go and trust that we don’t always have to be right, and that our world will go on anyway. I imagine this would be easier on those that have a spiritual belief system to lean on, or a higher power to give this all up to.
    You’ve given me a lot to think about. As I am about to embark on a life changing program to get this weight off, it occurs to me that the work I need to do isn’t ALL physical. Thanks for the insightful post.

    1. Becky…you’ve taken a huge step forward just sharing what you have. Be proud!

      Allow me to expound a bit on what I meant by positive thinking helping to overcome fears… I used to be a VERY negative person. Grouchy. Bitchy. Nothing was ever good enough – nothing I did, nothing anyone did, was ever good enough. Then, I had my oldest daughter and I saw how my bad attitude affected her. I grew up a little and tried to be better. Then I got divorced and when I looked back, I could see how my negative thinking affected my marriage and contributed to its demise. I grew up a little more, and tried a little harder. Then I met my husband, who just happens to be just as stubborn and hard-headed (yes, there’s a difference!) as I am, who would not allow me to behave like I wanted was used to behaving.

      Long story short, the more I took a long, hard look at my actions and behavior, the more I began to see how even the smallest negativity I gave off had big consequences. The more I tried to be positive, the more self-confidence I had and the happier I was. The better I felt about myself, the less afraid I was. And now that I’m older and some-what wiser, I can see that most of my bad behavior and negative thinking was due to my fears.

      I was afraid of simple things like small talk. I’d walk around with a frown on my face just so people would avoid me and I wouldn’t have to talk to them. Most people probably find that silly, but for me it was a big deal. Now, if I really wanted to, I could blame my abusive childhood…OR, I could take responsibility for my actions as an adult and find a way to move past all of that.

      SO! All of this leads me to quickly explain that being able to grow as a person and find your happiness enables you to say, “I was wrong,” much MUCH more easily than if you aren’t. A stunted, negative person will find it difficult to admit they are wrong…I’m guessing because they are afraid of how that might make them look, never realizing their own negativity makes them look worse.

      And I’m sure by now you’ve realized that “LETTING GO” is the same thing as “Surrender.” Surrender or let go, Becky, you will be happier for it!!

      Good luck and many blessings to you. I hope that you continue to grow as a person, and that your life changing program is successful!

  2. As another of Bob’s graduates (same class as you) I have to say that the class changed my life. Well, not the class itself, but the lessons learned there, the epiphany of self-reflection followed by a bit of personal disgust and a drive to be something better.

    I once heard the saying, “Fear is sand in the machinery of life”. It clogs the gears, wears them down and eventually breaks it. Our careers, our lives are “machines” in many ways. When we let fear slip in the result can only be harm and the long term can only be failure.

    I think Bob said it best in the class: “The only time we fail is when we don’t try, when we don’t get back up and move forward after a fall, everything else is growth and success.” I might be paraphrasing there a bit but that is the concept.

    Great post, Kate 🙂

    1. I remember reading your goals and thinking, “I really gotta step it up.” 😛

      Yes, exactly! As I told Becky, seeing my bad behavior helped me to realize I needed to change. But taking Bob’s class really woke me up. I “knew” I’d needed to make changes before, but after taking his class I KNEW exactly what I needed to do and I’ve been able to process this stuff more clearly.

      Excellent metaphor!

      “The only time we fail is when we don’t try, when we don’t get back up and move forward after a fall, everything else is growth and success.” Yes! That may not be the exact quote, but I remember. This is a great mantra for those of us with the fear of failure.

      Thanks Gene! 🙂

  3. I’m afraid of not being in control, which I know is an illusion to begin with. I’m not in control, I only think I am. So I’ve been working on changing my mindset in that regard. It’s not easy letting go, which I guess would make that two fears I have.

    Great post. 🙂

    1. Control. Yeah, that’s a tough one. A hard lesson for me to learn as well. Y’know what though? It can be quite liberating to say, “Well, I can’t control that, so what will be will be.”

      Know what else? When you can do that, you’re off the hook 😛

  4. Since I was very young, my parents taught me to always look for the truth in any counsel/critique you receive. In everything in life, chances are you aren’t 100% right, so find what’s wrong, admit it, and fix it.

    Most external forces make us feel bad about admitting we are wrong – but how else do we grow?

    Lovely post, Kate!

  5. Yet again, life is sending me sign after sign to prepare for change. And then, I stumble on your blog. Bob’s advice is right. Hard to hear, tougher to live, but so very right. Thanks for giving me lots to think about as I prepare for my own changes to come.

    1. That’s the thing, Jess…life/fate/God/higher-consciousness, whatever you want to call it, is always sending us signs and signals, we just have to look out for them and recognize them when we seem them. It can be tricky at first, but with practice come perfection, eh? Well, maybe not perfection 😛

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