I was talking with some friends of mine today and they asked me about the quote “Fear is a liar” from my new book and what I meant by it. It took me a second to make sure they weren’t setting me up for a trap or an argument as it’s always a touchy subject as people tend to dismiss whatever I say due to my Special Forces background.
But that’s nonsense.
Any special operator (no matter the branch) who tells you they were never scared is lying to you. Period. End of story.
But that’s just it. There’s no magic trick we learn in training that makes us resistant to fear. It’s the opposite. We learn ways to deal with fear, compartmentalize it, and then move on and do what we have to do. We learn to accept it. But I’ll get back to that in a second.
Since this is a blog post, not a full psychological discussion, I won’t be talking about depression and the thousands of other specialty illnesses that hurt our future – today I’m talking about FEAR.
Let’s start with when we are unafraid. When we’re unafraid and planning or going about our daily routines we never allow absolute thoughts to rule our world. We know we can drive to the store without dying. We know the plane won’t crash just because we are on it. We know we can cut a steak without cutting our self.
But when we are afraid we tend to start thinking only in absolutes and worst case scenarios. There is no “what if” there is no “maybe” – there is only a certainty that whatever it is we are fearful of WILL OCCUR. Guaranteed.
You aren’t enjoying a new activity outdoors – you are going to die when the equipment fails and you get lost.
You don’t have a potential financial opportunity – you are going to quickly and violently go bankrupt.
You know that squeak in the living room at midnight is a sword wielding ninja waiting to attack you.
Your idea can’t be told to anyone at work – as soon as she hears it your boss will fire you.
You can’t trust your partner, your staff, your coworkers, your friends – you know they will fail you.
Despite the statistics you know the plane is going to crash in a large body of water (even though you aren’t flying over water).
These thoughts are all based in fear. But here’s the thing – we don’t think like that all the time. When we’re unafraid and planning we tend to think like this: “Oh, that’ll never happen.” “But – I’ve got this….” Etc.
Think of it this way: if your Uncle Buck came to your house and treated you like fear does – would you allow it? Would you allow him to sway you from doing the things you normally do?
“Scott – don’t light the barbecue – it’ll explode and you will die leaving your wife a widow and your kids fatherless.”
“Scott – don’t drive to the store, an 18 wheeler will plow into you and leave you paralyzed.”
“Scott – put that steak knife down, it’s sharp!”
Of course you wouldn’t think like that. You know living in fear is ridiculous. Deep down, we all know it.
That’s why I tell people fear is a liar. Not only is it a liar – it’s a thief. If you allow it to – fear will steal your future from you. Life is meant to be lived. Get out and start living yours without the lies of fear.
Stop being afraid of what COULD go wrong and instead learn to focus on what is going right. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.