Fear is occasionally justified.
Fear inevitably leads to failure, due to the avoidance factor listed above- it's what drives armies from battlefields and leaves dudes unfucked at the end of the night. Although it's fear of death that's what keeps us from trying to pet a pissed off viper (and quite rightly), it's fear of failure that is what's generally manifested, and it's this type of fear that we've got to combat tooth and fucking nail. 95 out of 100 people fail to achieve anything of importance in life because it's easier not to strive for success due to a fear of failure.(Van Fleet 51) That's fucking bullshit. And I'm not talking about the Alex P. Keaton monetary success, since we're not a pack of bloodthirsty bean-counters, I'm talking about the "progressive realization of a worthwhile goal." The counterpoint, then, is failure- "someone who has the talent and ability to accomplish much more than he has."(Ibid.) We've all been there- pussed out on a single that we felt was within our reach, and then left the gym pissed at ourselves despite the rest of the workout's awesome. It's that kind of shit we need to avoid, because it's an evil, insidious, disgusting slithery thing that coils inside your mind and keeps you up at night, whether it's due to some guy/girl at whom you didn't spit game, some douche left unbloodied and unbeaten in a parking lot, or some loaded barbell from which you walked away. You'll rarely regret the shit you've done, but you'll almost always regret the shit you've left undone.
Could you respect yourself if you saw this in front of you and said nothing to either of them? I sure as fuck hope not.
Given this fact, you've got to find a way to master your fear... or fear will be your master. James K. Van Fleet, author of a pretty cool little book called Hidden Power has 4 steps to ridding ones self of fear, and I've found that they're remarkably apt, and shit you likely do as a matter of course.(Van Fleet 107-116) Nevertheless, they bear repeating, as I've noticed there's a tremendous amount of shit that I do unconsciously that I should consciously do a hell of a lot more of, and this is one of those instances.
1) Admit it. You can't beat what you can't see, and burying your fucking head in the sand will simply make you a weak pussy. Therefore, if you fear something, simply admit to yourself that you do. Pretend you're in Sex Addicts Anonymous, simply to get laid, and you've got to admit you're a freak to reel in the nut you've been eyeballing since the meeting began.
I'm a sex addict. It's my cross to bear. It's a real disease with doctors and medicine and everything!
2) Analyze your fear to see if it's justified. You planning on trying to fuck that viper I mentioned before? If so, you might want to rethink your position, as the cost to benefit ratio on that plan fucking blows. If you're simply afraid of back squatting, consider why that is. How many people have you seen getting injured doing so? Were their injuries avoidable? That sort of shit. If you find that you're simply manufacturing reasons to shit your pants about it, rather than thinking critically about it, do some research and some up with a solid thesis for why you shouldn't. Present that idea to someone you respect. If they spit on you, you're being a fucking pussy and you should probably go do whatever it is you were avoiding. If they tell you that you're reasonable in your fear of fucking a snake, you can pay your fear a bit more heed.
3) Take necessary actions to rid yourself of your fear. Here's where it gets fun, in two parts.
- Don't concentrate on your fear. First, worrying about shit is fucking pointless- it's a waste of time, ages you prematurely, and that fear has a snowball effect. Be the captain of your fucking ship and Blackbeard up-your conscious mind is like the captain of your ship, and your subconscious is the crew.(Van Fleet 6) If your captains screaming like a woman and running about in terror, your subconscious will do so, doubletime. If you concentrate on your fear, you will become it. Therefore, acknowledge it and then hit step two.
- Do the thing you fear, and you'll gain power over it. This isn't just some hokey bullshit- it's backed by science. Chronic stress response to any given activity decreases markedly over time, to the point where your body will adapt and respond by flushing your body with hormones only at the precise moment you need it. (Lehrer) Cognitive behavioral treatment always involves confronting that which one fears to harness this precise response, and as you gain control over your fear and remain calm in the face of it, you literally force your subgenual anterior cingulate cortex into "hero mode", where you can become Sargent Fucking York at the drop of a hat and do insane, awesome shit for the fuck of it. This means get under that weight that scares the shit out of you, or more. If your mind's going to fuck with you, fuck with it right back. I like to call this "doing something to spite myself", but then, I've got a lot of George Constanza shit going on and love screaming "SERENITY NOW!" at the top of my lungs and doing all sorts of random shit out of spite. However you motivate yourself into doing something you fear, however, make it fucking happen. You'll benefit therefrom.
I realize that step 3 is by and large easier said than done, but it will be worth the effort. Here are a couple of methods for gettin' 'er dun, as a certain fat redneck poser would say:
Doesn't work with tits, but then, who cares? If you can touch them, they're real
1) Fake it til you make it. This adage exists for a reason- it works. By consciously focusing on being a badass, you will gradually force your subconscious mind to work with instead of against you. This can be done with something as simple as a change in posture. I'm not saying you should flare your lats and walk into the gym like the overly tan, air-lat douches that seem to populate New Jersey. Instead, I mean simply walking around, everywhere, making a conscious effort to keep your head up, chest full, and shoulders squared. Eventually, your mind will be tricked into confidence by your physiology. Other people (men in particular, since women notice far more nuance in body language than do men) will pick up on your aura of confidence and treat you like the confident person you're pretending to be. (Pease 27)
2) Become more aggressive. Testosterone is positively correlated with aggression, helps to overcome the effects of fear, and fuels impulsiveness and physical strength.(Macrae) It's what makes great men what they are, and without aggression, we'd still be living in caves, afraid of everything and nibbling on bamboo shoots. To become more aggressive, all you really have to do is surround yourself with aggressive things. Some studies have shown that violent sports and other entertainments increase one's levels of aggression, and likewise exposure to other aggressive people increases aggression. (Flora 190) Thus, listening to metal/punk/hardcore, watching violent movies, and hanging out with people into the same shit will increase your levels of aggression and thereby make you far more immune to fear. If you're curious as to how aggressive you are, you can take this online quiz. If you're on the low side and are sucking in the gym, you might want to think about investing in test boosters, the Devil's Rejects, and the new Man Must Die cd.
The key to success is to "act as if it's impossible to fail"... and unless you're fucking fearless, you cannot attain success. (Van Fleet 53) This doesn't include temporary defeats and setbacks- we're talking wars. If the Viet Cong could manage to lose every fucking battle and still win the war, we can all hit 700 lb. squats.
Show no fear.
Link to Part 1, if you want a refresher: right here.
Flora, Stephen Ray. The Power of Reinforcement. New York: SUNY Press, 2004.
Lehrer, J. Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine. Wired. October 2010.
Macrae, F. Say goodbye to fear of snakes and other phobias thanks to the new pill that gives courage. Daily Mail. 24 June 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1289011/Say-goodbye-fear-snakes-phobias-thanks-new-pill-gives-courage.html
Pease, Allen and Barbara. The Definitive Book of Body Language. New York: Bantam Dell, 2004.
Van Fleet, James K. Hidden Power: How To Unleash the Power of Your Subconscious Mind. Paramus: Prentice Hall, 1987.