Most of our thoughts, actions, behaviors, and habits are motivated by running away from our perceptions of danger and discomfort.
We have our desires on one side and fears on the other side. We run away from pain and run toward pleasure. We avoid punishment and seek rewards.
Running away from perceived danger and discomfort rarely results in realizing our desires. Our desires are on the other side of the perceived danger and discomfort that we run away from.
To break free from our fears and to realize our desires, we need to go toward the eye of the storm as Teal Swan calls it. Mark Divine, an ex-Navy Seal and a bestselling author, calls it running toward the sound of gunfire.
If you paid attention, I use the words “perceived danger and discomfort.” Most of the time, the danger and discomfort that we’re afraid of aren’t real. They’re illusions.
If we speak in front of an audience and bomb it, no one’s going to be hurt except our ego, which is an illusion anyway. If we start a business and go bankrupt, we aren’t going to die.
If we ask someone for a date and get rejected, we won’t lose all of our chances to date someone else for the rest of our lives. All of these dangers and discomforts are psychological. They aren’t real.
Freedom is realizing that most of our fears are imaginary. Once you get that and act despite your fears, your whole life changes.
Life Forces You To What You Run Away From
If you keep running away from your perceptions of danger and discomfort, life forces you to face them. If you’re running away from public speaking, you receive a speaking task in the most adverse conditions.
If you don’t take any risks in your job, you risk losing it entirely. If you never ask someone out, you end up alone or with someone that life throws your way.
By running away from your fears, you’re creating what you’re afraid of.
It isn’t that hard to go toward the eye of the storm. Two tips will help you, the 1% Rule and the Letting Go Technique.
The 1% Rule
1% daily improvements result in 3778% improvement in a single year. That’s improving your life 38 times in one year.
All you have to do is to take one step at a time toward the eye of the storm. It isn’t about speed. It’s about consistency.
Now take a moment to come up with a list of 1% approaches toward the eye of the storm.
- If you have public speaking anxiety, a 1% approach would be speaking up in a meeting.
- If you want to start a business, a 1% approach would be taking a month of unpaid vacation and investing that month into your business.
- If you’re afraid of hiring people, a 1% approach would be hiring a virtual assistant to prepare a daily report of your social media accounts.
There are endless possibilities of leaning into what you’re afraid of.
You can use the 1% rule to cultivate your courage and self-discipline. Both are crucial to your personal success.
Letting Go of Your Fears
The Letting Go Technique by David Hawkins is an excellent method for eliminating unwanted feelings, including fear.
Letting go involves staying with the feeling, without running away from it, without suppressing it, without trying to change it, or without investing any mental energy into it.
If you stay with the feeling long enough, its intensity decreases gradually, and it vanishes eventually.
To get the best results out of the letting go technique, combine it with the 1% rule.
Imagine you’re afraid of heights and there’s a skyscraper where you live. You can comfortably look down from the second floor.
The next day, you get to the third floor, and you feel sensations of anxiety. You stay with the feeling. You don’t run away from the window.
You also don’t invest any mental energy into disaster scenarios. Thoughts of the window breaking down and you falling down come up. You acknowledge them and let them go.
You focus on your breathing and inhale and exhale deeply and slowly. After a while, your anxiety diminishes. You start to enjoy the view on the third floor.
It isn’t a walk in the park, but you aren’t panicking either. After you relax sufficiently and feel comfortable enough, you go on with your day.
You do the same with the fourth floor next day. You keep going through the same exercise, day after day until you reach the top floor of the building.
This is called systematic desensitization or graduated exposure therapy. You might not find a simple solution like the skyscraper for your fear, but you can come up with your own list of 1% approaches to the eye of your storm.
Your desires are on the other side of your fears. By running away from perceived danger and discomfort, you’re actually running away from your desires.
The straightest path to the realization of your desires is to move toward the eye of the storm. You don’t need to do that in a single day, but you can make enormous progress over time by approaching your eye of the storm 1% every day.
The letting go technique is an effective way to deal with uncomfortable feelings. If you combine it with the 1% rule consistently, you’ll overcome your irrational fears over time, and become a force of nature.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.