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Fear and the Dance

When it comes right down to it, fear is keeping most people from living extraordinary lives. Fear of what others will think. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. How can we move past the fears and live life in a truly courageous and amazing way?

Part of the problem is that our minds characterize fear as something to be battled or overcome. That mentality puts us in conscious opposition to our subconscious mind. Our thinking, analytical mind is trying to master our deeper, feeling mind. In this mode of fear, we’re using a great deal of mental energy against our own mind.

Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins says people have to learn to stop fighting the fear and learn to dance with it. “Let fear be a counselor, not a jailer,” Robbins tells his clients.

“As long as we’re fighting fear, it’s taking that energy and getting stronger,” says master hypnotist Beverly Craddock of Hawaii Hypnosis Center. “Our mind is trying to protect us from fears of the past and it is unable to focus on the future.”

One of Robbins most popular seminar techniques is to have an audience figure out their biggest fear. Audience members close their eyes as Robbins has them think about what that fear has taken from them and what that fear has taken from their families. He encourages the audience to really feel that loss. Then he switches them to seeing how life would be in the future without the fear.

“That’s the power of the cost of fear,” Beverly says. “And that’s the dance. Instead of focusing energy on the fear itself, focus on what the future can be without it. In that moment, fear becomes a powerful motivator for change.”

The study of people that have accomplished great success in life is often a study in the ways that people have overcome their fears. Even early self-help guru Napoleon Hill, who wrote Think and Grow Rich during the Great Depression, found that successful people use their energy to focus on positive future outcomes.

“It’s incredible what can happen when you stop driving with the emergency brake on,” said self-help author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, who’s book The Four-Hour Work Week hit number one on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal non-fiction lists. Ferriss says his personal happiness came when he stopped fighting his fear and started letting it motivate him to do something different.

Beverly says people commonly live in the fear of starting their own business, applying for a better job, or taking a trip to an exotic location.

 “People even talk about a fear of success,” Beverly says, “Fear of success doesn’t make a lot of sense consciously, but some people feel as though they don’t deserve good things. All of this is the frequently unfortunate state of the subconscious mind.” 

With a primary responsibility for protecting us from the past, Beverly says that the subconscious is poorly suited to living a courageous life.

“There’s a moment when every successful or adventurous person realizes that they can’t move forward if they’re constantly focused on the past,” she explains. “Are humans afraid to fail? You bet. We’ve all failed. No one is out there hoping to mess up their lives, their bank accounts, or their futures. The trick is realizing that each of us has learned valuable lessons through those past failures, and those lessons make us even more prepared for better things if we stay with it.”

As a hypnotist, Beverly helps clients change subconscious perspectives. “A simple shift in perspective often occurs in a mere conversation in our office,” she concludes. “People sometimes think of hypnosis as some kind of magical, mind control. That image keeps some people from coming in. I guess there’s even a fear of hypnosis for some people. The reality is that we are a specialist for the subconscious mind. Our job is to help our clients turn big fears into big dreams. If they can overcome the fear to get here, they can overcome any fear with our help.”

Randy Hampton is a writer, social scientist, hypnotist and blogger living in Honolulu.

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