Conquer Fear Now! Everything you seek in life is often just on the other side of fear.
In our previous article (Which you can find here – Dealing With Fear – Terror Is Part Of The Thrill – Part One Of Two) we learned a little bit about fear, what it is exactly and what really causes it. We focused on some great information found in the book ” The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy (Founder of Success Magazine). In this second portion of the article we will draw our focus on some actual steps ( Brain Hacks ) we can perform to conquer fear and quickly propel ourselves to that next level of success! Once again, this great information is found in the book “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster” which we highly recommend. ( Note that we do not have any affiliation with Darren Hardy, the book he has published or Success Magazine. We do however, strongly feel that the book provides a lot of great “nuggets” of information related to many aspects of entrepreneurship which everyone can benefit from. )
Let’s jump into it! Here are 6 Brain Hacks To Conquer Fear
” So your brain has a mind of it’s own – literally. Unfortunately you’re stuck with the original, outdated equipment. Although you can’t change the evolution of your ancient mind, you can short-circuit its primitive tendencies by hacking it.
Here are six brain hacks to bring your brain back from the Stone Age and into the age of high-tech tools and roller coaster businesses.
1. GET REAL
The first thing to do is to gain perspective. You want to separate reality from fantasy. It’s not a lion, it’s a phone. If you dial it and the other person answers, they can’t eat you. If you stand in front of a small group, they are not going to pillage your village. If you stand alone onstage to give a presentation, the audience is not going to attack you. You are in no mortal danger.
A good question to ask yourself before you do anything you think you fear is, “If i do this, am I going to die?” If the answer is no, then your fear is made up, grossly over dramatic, and it should have no power over you.
2. IT’S THE FEAR OF FEAR YOU FEAR
Oddly, it’s not even calling a stranger or making a speech that generates our fear, it’s the anticipation of doing it – which is, once again, an illusion of the mind.
In the 1960’s, a researcher names Seymour Epstein got curious about skydivers. He fitted novice parachutists with heart rate monitors that measured their pulses as their plane climbed toward the release point. He found that – as you might expect – while still safe inside the plane, a jumper’s heart rate got faster and faster as the plane ascended. The higher the plane went, the higher the anxiety.
What he didn’t expect to find, however, was that once they threw themselves out the door of the plane and started hurtling toward the Earth with only a few thin cords and a glorified bed sheet to keep them from impending doom, their heart rates declined dramatically, and they admitted to quite enjoying themselves.
The most stressful part of the entire experience was the illusion of how frightening the event would be or, in other words, the anticipation of fear. Once the reality of the event took over, the fear vanished.
This “pre-fear” is what happens before you pick up the phone, before you go onstage, and before you walk across the room to introduce yourself to a stranger. It’s the anticipation of fear kicking in – your ancient mind’s illusion. once you are engaged in the activity, your brain realizes you are not toe-to-toe with a predator, this is not the primitive mortal threat you feared it would be, and it turns off the fear response.
Just remember: The fear itself hurts more than the thing you’re scared of.
3. TWENTY SECONDS OF COURAGE
Courage is overrated. Or, at least overestimated. You don’t need to be brave all day, every day to be successful.
In fact, you barely have to be courageous at all.
According to my calculations, you can be a coward 99.9305556 percent of the time. That’s your whole day, except for just 20 seconds, three times a day.
Why 20 seconds? Because in just 20 seconds, you can…
.. pick up the phone to call that “Big Kahuna” prospect.
.. introduce yourself to your dream client at a networking meeting.
.. walk up to a circle of strangers and say “Hi”.
.. volunteer to come up on stage.
.. ask him or her out on a date.
.. begin your pitch presentation.
.. take a plunge into icy cold water.
.. start a tough conversation with a loved one or employee.
.. say “no” even though it will make you unpopular.
.. even jump out of a plane.
So. What should we do when we hit the inevitable wall of fear?
Do this: Shut off your brain. Close your eyes, hold your breath (if you need to), and do what every signal of your brain is insisting you don’t do – RUN RIGHT AT IT!
Think about it. In order to jump out of a plane flying thousands of feet in the air and free fall to the Earth, you have to shut your brain off. The brain’s only job is survival. There is no way you can intellectually convince the brain that jumping out of a plane is a good idea. It will never allow you to do it. Ever. You have to turn it off for the few seconds you need to hurl your body out the door.
Those 20 seconds of courage are enough time to get engaged in the activity and for your brain to
realize it won’t get eaten. From there on, it’s all easy breezy.
The activities you are most afraid of are the activities that can cause a breakthrough in your success. Think of everything you could accomplish if you forced 20 seconds of bravery on your primitive mind just three times a day? Imagine how doing so would multiply your success, lifestyle, and prominence in the marketplace. Think of the breakthroughs you could create.
And! You could still be a coward 99.9305556 percent of the time – just a really rich and successful one!
4. FOCUS ON TASKS, NOT OUTCOMES
Your brain is a drama queen. It makes mountains out of molehills. It sees a flea and magnifies it into a Tyrannosaurus rex. I call this the twisted mind effect.
A friend of mine recently visited the mall with his wife and fourteen-year-old daughter, Ashley. After some individual shopping, he met with his wife at their agreed-upon meeting spot.
When he asked his wife where Ashley was, she said she thought their daughter was with him, as she had been when they originally parted ways. “She was with me just a few minutes ago,” he said, “but she said she was going ahead to meet you. She should be with you.”
“I haven’t seen her,” his wife responded.
They both looked at each other, worried.
After a long two minutes of waiting and scanning every person who walked by, panic set in. The father took off running, retracing every step they had taken in the last hour. The mother asked shoppers she saw if they had seen a girl of her daughter’s description. As they both looked frantically for their daughter, visions of abduction and child predators flooded their minds. Within ten minutes, they had three store security guards and a team of four mall cops huddled to begin a full-scale Ashley-hunt. Mom was crying. Dad was yelling.
Moments later, Ashley bounded up cheerfully to the group with a brace-filled smile, asking, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Her mom burst out a yelp, ran up to her, and nearly squeezed the life out of her. Her father, shaky on the brink of tears himself, joined the family hug. “Where were you?” he asked.
“I was trying on a pair of pants in the store right there,” Ashley said, pointing to a shop fifty feet away.
In a span of twelve minutes, the minds of the mother and father magnified the reality of their daughter being just a few minutes tardy, into projections of her being abducted, molested, and murdered.
That’s the twisted mind effect.
And it happens all the time… and to the best of us.
The solution isn’t to ignore important things but instead focus on the task at hand without magnification. It’s not only a better way to get through life, but it’s the secret of the great pressurized-playmakers.
When Michael Jordan is about to get the ball to take the winning shot, he isn’t thinking about the outcome and and how this shot will define the season, the championship, the Sports Center highlight, his career, and legacy. He’s only thinking about the shot – one he has taken a million times.
When Tiger Woods is standing over the final putt on the eighteenth green of the Masters on Sunday, he isn’t thinking how this one stroke could be the $500,000 difference between victory and second place. He’s not thinking of his Majors win competition with Jack Nicklaus, and he’s not thinking about the several-million-dollar spike this one putt will generate in his endorsement deals. He is only thinking about the task. That one putt. A stroke he has made a million times.
The same rules apply to you in the moments when anxiety closes in. You, too, can become a pressurized-playmaker. Just focus on the task – picking up the phone, holding your hand out and saying “Hi,” looking in the eye of your client and saying, “sign here.” Don’t let your mind twist itself into a frantic mess by focusing on the magnified (and usually negative and false) outcome.
5. HABITUATE YOURSELF TO FEAR
One organization that understands better than any other how to beat our innate fear response is the military. If the average person is scared to make a speech, imagine what the average undisciplined and slovenly teenager’s response to being shot at and attacked by insurgents might be. The military takes these young newbies who’ve never been far from the bosoms of their mothers, and through the boot camp process, they turn them into fearless warriors.
As part of the transformation, new recruits are subjected to relentless and repeated fear, pressure, and stress. The result? Would-be soldiers are habituated to fear. Now, when they’re 8,000 miles away from home in Afghanistan and the bullets start flying, they don’t run in the opposite direction.
It takes a well-hacked brain to face enemy fire and run toward it. But if you can train your brain to run at bullets and bombs, think how easy it can be to train it to run toward a stage, a prospecting call, or a group of strangers.
This process started for me as kid under the habituation coaching of my “Gunnery Sergeant” father. During my first game of Little League, I kept jumping out of the batter’s box when the pitcher threw the ball. In my defense, it’s a normal brain response when a flying orb is coming at your head. But it’s not good for hitting a baseball.
Plus, in my dad’s opinion, I looked like a sissy.
My dad definitely was not going to father any sissy, so the next Saturday he took me to the baseball diamond for some batting practice. This was no Disneyland – I was not excited about this father-son excursion.
“All right,” he said,“ stand in the box. Your feet never leave that box. I don’t care where this ball is – your feet never leave the box. You hear me?”
I heard him – but just barely over the sound of my knees knocking.
He started with a whiffle ball, and threw it right at me. I flinched, and it hit me, but the light plastic ball didn’t hurt. He kept throwing it at me over and over. The more he threw it, the less I flinched or moved. Then he started throwing it over the plate so I could swing at it. Every once in a while he threw it right at me on purpose, but I was frozen in that box like a statue.
Next, he took out a tennis ball and repeated the process. The tennis ball hurt a little more – just enough to matter. But i got used to seeing the ball come at me over and over until I didn’t flinch.
“All right,” he said, ‘now we’re gonna use a baseball.”
Seeing my face, he added, “Look, I’m not going to try to hit you, but if I do, no big deal, okay?”
I was skeptical.
“I’ll tell you what,” he continued. “If I hit you three times, we’ll go to pizza when we’re done.”
Now, I really liked pizza back then, so I agreed.
Near the end of the long batting practice, he had only hit me once, and I found myself actually leaning in to the next pitch hoping to shorten the time-gap between me and a piece of pepperoni sausage. “Ha! There’s two!” I shouted from the batter’s box. “One more and we go to pizza!”
We practiced many times after that, and I always found a way to get hit three times. In fact, I got so used to getting hit with the ball that it became my greatest strength in baseball. I would crowd the plate, just asking to be hit. It drove pitchers crazy. I got on base by being hit more than most great hitters do by getting hits. but I got on base, baby!
My greatest weakness became my strength because I habituated my myself to it. As a result, I no longer feared it. You can do the same with your fears. Do the thing you fear over and over again, until you train your brain that it’s no longer something to be feared. Not only will the fear lose all power over you, but that fear can become the very thing that separates your success from everyone else’s mediocrity.
6. MAKING FEAR AND FAILURE FUN
I got into real estate when I was only 20 years old. At that point, I had no experience and no knowledge of the business at all. I was starting from scratch and a complete novice.
At my first real estate seminar, I asked the lecturer to lunch and grilled him for his best tip on being successful in the industry.
“My best tip? Sure. Go fail. A Lot.” He said.
“What?!” I said. “I thought the whole idea of success was to avoid failure.”
“Quite the opposite,” he said. “The key to success is massive failure. Your goal it to out-fail your competition. In most businesses, whoever can fail the most, the fastest, and the biggest wins.”
I was still perplexed. As far as I was concerned, failure was something you tried to do as little of as possible.
To clarify, he picked up a cocktail napkin, and pulled out a pen. “Life, growth, and achievement,” he said, “work like a pendulum.” He drew a simple diagram on the napkin. “On one side, you have failure, rejection, defeat, pain, and sadness. On the other side, you have success, acceptance, victory, joy, and happiness. If you stand still in life, you won’t experience much failure and pain. But you won’t find much success and happiness either.
“Over time,” he continued, “most people figure out how to operate in a narrow comfort zone. They can only allow the pendulum to swing a small distance into pain, rejection, and failure, thus they only experience the same small degree of joy, connection, and success on the other side of the swing.”
The key is you cannot experience one side without an equal proportion of the other. This is the mistake most people make: They think they can have success without failure, love without heartache, and happiness without sadness. As sure as we have gravity, we have the pendulum swing of success and failure.
He added, “Now you really can’t control the side of success. Often what you pursue eludes you. But the one side of the pendulum you can control is the side of failure and rejection. That is why it is your job to go swing that pendulum as high and as big as you can. Go fail. Big. Fast.”
I had nothing to lose, so I just took his advice at face value. I really went for it. I became a failure-seeking maniac. I strategized on how I could get as much failure, as big and as fast as possible. Fortunately, in real estate sales, there are several ways.
One is calling on expired listings. As I mentioned earlier, these are people who had their house on the market with another agent and it didn’t sell. The minute the listing shows up as “expired” on the computer, 50-plus agents call immediately. Sellers, unsurprisingly, quickly become mad and confrontational. Oh goody, lots of rejection, pain, and sadness there!
Then there were the FSBOs – “For SAle by Owners.” These are people who hate realtors so much they wouldn’t even think of listing with one. There is plenty of pain, sadness, defeat, rejection, and failure to be had there, too.
When I was finished with all of them (and done wiping the tears from my eyes!), I would park my car at the end of a street and get out. I carried a little note pad with 50 check boxes on it, and I wouldn’t allow myself to get back in the car until all 50 boxes were checked. Then I’d go knock on doors. This strategy elicited plenty of angry jeers, barking and biting dogs, slammed doors, and kids throwing rock from across the street. Tons-o-fun!
The for a final serving of pain pie, I’d go to my office. The hours between 5:00 and 9:00pm were “money time.” For four hours straight, I would cold call on the phone. Why that time period? Because that’s when people are home and usually having dinner. People love it when you call during dinner! Lots of pain, rejection, and sadness to be had there.
But guess what?
First of all, failure got a lot easier. Rejection no longer stung. I started making a game out of it. It actually became kind of comical.
The something else happened: The pendulum started to swing back.
Some of those expired listings listed with me.
Some of those FSBOs ended up converting and listing with me.
And some of those cold doors and cold-calls actually were looking to sell and listed with me.
That is how I ended up outselling an office of 44 veteran agents, combined… and dominating the city the next year and the entire county of 3,000 agents the following year. I was willing to be a massive failure, and I ended up loving it. In fact, it became quite addictive because I knew it was the controlling factor in my greater success.
If you want to start your pendulum swinging in wider arcs, you’ll need to start experiencing more failure. Think of it this way: Level One growth is recognizing that rejection and failure are not bad. You start walking out of the shadows of your fears.
Level Two is accepting failure as part of the process along your journey. That’s where many good salespeople and entrepreneurs are. They don’t like it, but they accept it as part of the process.
But to be great? When you become truly unstoppable and rise way above everyone else? That’s when you reach Level Three. When you don’t just see failure as good or just accept it as part of the process, but when you really love it, seek it, celebrate it, and become addicted to pushing yourself to gain more of it. That is when all resistance is removed, and the pendulum has nothing left to do but make gargantuan swings on the side of success, wealth, and happiness.
To this day, if I get to the end of the week or month and I have not failed significantly at something, I am mad at myself. Why? Because I want more success. How do i get it? More failure.
Remember: The key to success is massive failure.
Go fail! “
You have the steps, it’s time to conquer fear! No excuses.
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