We’re all afraid of different things. It’s a natural part of the human experience. In fact, fear is what helps to protect us. However, fear can also become destructive and detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Right now, there’s a global collective fear of the unknown like never before, as well as our individual fears (both conscious and unconscious) that we each need to examine, understand, and free ourselves from.
Today’s episode is the first in a two-part series. We’re going to talk about what fear really is, what causes it, how it affects us, and how you can break free from fear.
- The difference between “unconscious” fears and “conscious” fears.
- What exactly fear is, when it serves us, and when it doesn’t.
- Why fear is a self-created, intangible illusion – and how to use self-love and thinking from a place of power to transcend it.
- Why it’s not possible to be “fearless” but it is to fear less – and how to take a 20,000 foot view to understand and use your fears to your advantage.
- How to avoid spending unnecessarily time in the fear state, even as you face intense challenges, trauma, and setbacks.
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Hal Elrod: Hey, goal achievers. It's Hal Elrod. Welcome to today's podcast. I don't know about you, but I just had a movie come out on Saturday. I'm still kind of reeling off of the Miracle Morning Movie World Premiere that happened on Saturday. I think we have just under 10,000 people that have joined the world premiere and people are still getting the replay, which that's not available as of yesterday but, yeah, what an exciting event. Thank you to all of you that were there. I won't say it couldn't have gone better because there's always little things that you think of, “Oh, we should have done that differently.” But for the most part, I'm so grateful. It feels kind of surreal that it happened after six years of working on it. I don't know about you, but you’ve worked on a goal for so long and you worked so hard that it felt like it might never happen and I think that I had that feeling a lot over these last six years. Especially when I was in the hospital fighting cancer, it was like the movie felt so far away of something that would ever even happen or come true. So, anyway, thank you again for those of you that have experienced the movie, and it's now on Vimeo and Amazon. If you want to grab a copy, you can get it on Amazon Prime Video or on Vimeo as well. We're working on Netflix and Hulu and all that stuff but who knows how far off that is. That's usually a long process.
All right. Let's talk about today. Today, we're going to dive into the topic of fear. And just so you know, you may or may not know this, when I'm falling asleep at night, I get in a real meditative state. It's kind of my miracle evening. I just lay there and I think thoughts of gratitude and for whatever reason, I think it's because the brain starts to fall asleep. I think that's the alpha state. Alpha? I always mess that up. But the state that you start to hear kind of the whispers and the wisdom. Your conscious mind is quieted down. There's no distractions. There's no stimulus. So, you start to hear those whispers of intuition. You start to hear, you start to tap into that infinite intelligence, your inner intelligence as well. That's when I have a lot of ideas for podcasts, and this is where this came from, which is why I'm bringing this up. It was, I don't know, a few nights ago. Maybe it was before the movie premiere, so maybe a week ago, and I've been thinking about what I was going to record for this podcast episode, and it just hit me as I was falling asleep, one word, and that was fear. Realizing that we are all afraid of different things. It's part of the human experience.
And with what's happened in 2020, with the pandemic and the election, and just all of the things, I'd say primarily, it really started in March when COVID hit but I think that, collectively, our society and not just in one country, but globally, there is this collective fear of the unknown, the fear of the unknown, the fear of what's going on right now, the fear of the divisiveness in at least here in America, in our country where it's divided. I've never seen it quite like this before. The fear of the unknown future. There's a lot of global collective fears that we're all facing. And so, it just hit me. I thought I've really got to examine my own fears. Start there, of course, examine my own fears. And then I thought, this is where I really want to go with the podcasts and I think this is going to be, I'm not positive, but I'm thinking this is going to be like a multi-episode series. So, a multi-episode series on freedom from fear. That's kind of the tentative plan. I don't know. I'm thinking two to three episodes, possibly, so we'll see how this plays out. Who knows after today, I might run out of stuff to talk about? I doubt it.
Hal Elrod: Anyway, so I want to dive in. Today, I want to talk about what fear is. What is it? What causes fear? And most importantly or equally as important, how can you experience freedom from fear? That's where I want to dive or the direction that I want to go. If you think about like what are the common fears that most people share? Not particularly in 2020, but any given year because everyone is afraid of something sometimes. We all fear and some of the fears that come up as common fears are failure. That's a big one, fear of failure, fear of being rejected by other people. That's a very primitive fear because if you were rejected by the tribe, back in the day, hundreds of years ago, you were ousted. You didn't have access to the tribe’s food to the bounty. You were on your own and you were probably going to die. So, it's very ingrained in our collective DNA to be afraid of being rejected. Dying is another common fear. I'll let you know that that for me is not something that I have a fear over. Well, we'll get more into that in a bit but another one is financial insecurity, not being able to provide for you or provide for your family, all of those things.
Diving into what fear is, I just started where I usually start when I'm addressing a topic, which is I just google what is fear. Like, what's the dictionary definition is a place to start? And the dictionary definition that I found is a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger. I'll say it again. Fear is a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger. Now, again, I'd say that's a definition of fear but if you're looking at the fear of failure, I guess your mind is perceiving it as danger. So, dying, obviously, your mind perceives that as dangerous, being rejected. We perceive that as dangerous, being sick, having financial insecurity. Those are all dangers at different levels. So, I guess that does make a lot of sense. But in essence, fear is an emotional state. What's important, though, is to understand fear is natural. We're not going to talk about how to live without any fear. How to be fearless. Now, maybe fear less, like less fear, but not fearless. As a human being, not only is it impossible to live without fear, without some form of delusion or psychosis if you enter in a state of delusion or psychosis.
By the way, I think that in my past, I've actually been there before, where I did live without fear, and we'll talk about that in a few minutes as well. But the idea that fear is actually beneficial, fear serves us. We're going to talk a lot about that today, too. How do you use fear to your advantage? Why is fear important? But to know that fear is a natural state. It's natural. It's something that we all experience and it's something that's hardwired into us as humans, because again, it keeps us safe. It protects us that fear is valuable. If it wasn't for fear, you'd walk into fire, you'd put yourself in dangerous situations, if you didn't have that “unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence of imminence of danger.” Write that definition. It's important that you have that fear to keep you safe. However, it can be detrimental. Fear can be absolutely detrimental both to our mental and emotional well-being, our quality of life as we experience it, and it can also be detrimental to achieving our goals, to moving forward, to taking risk, calculated risk, to doing the things that we need to do that may present some risk, but that the other side of those fearful activities, that is our freedom. It's getting there over our obstacles and challenges and setbacks, and taking action, even in the face of fear that enables us to create the life that we desire.
So, the detriment of fear is when you're not in control of it. When you are not in control of fear, when you don't know how to effectively manage your fears or move through them, fear can absolutely rob you of everything that you want for your life. Again, both your internal desires of feeling happy and free and good and calm and peaceful and your external desires of being able to do the things and overcome the fears move through the fears that will enable you to create the results, the outcomes that you want in your life. So, fear can stop you and be detrimental both on the internal front and the external front. So, with that, it is crucial for us to learn how to overcome our fears, how to manage them, how to learn from, how to optimize them, how to move through them. There's an adage that's very simple and very important, which is feel the fear and do it anyway. It goes back to what I was saying. We're not about not having fear. It's not teaching you to not experience fear. It teaches you to experience fear and have it really be no big deal. It’s something that you are mindful about, that you're aware of, that you go, “Oh, yeah, I have a fear right now. Okay. Interesting.”
What is the source of this fear? You can actually look. Is it from my childhood? Is it something that I feel like I can't handle if it comes true, so I'm afraid? What's the source of the fear? And get curious about that. Interesting. Okay. What might I learn from this fear or the object of the fear? So, the point here is you see, yes, there's a fear but instead of it controlling you, you're controlling it. You've got a hold or you're able to view the fear from like this kind of 20,000-foot view and go, “Oh, okay. I see you fear. I see you. Thanks for paying a visit. Let me see what value I can extract from you being here.” So, again, it's crucial to use or to learn how to use our fears to our advantage and not allow fear to stop us and not allow fear to consume us. That's what we're talking about today.
So, what causes fear? Well, you can really kind of break it into two categories. You can look at your unconscious fears and then you could look at your conscious fears. So, the unconscious fears are things you're not even aware that you're afraid of that are just like inborn responses for you. And then there's the conscious fears, which is where you're like you can literally name it, "Oh, my God. I'm terrified of this thing. I'm terrified of this what's going on in the world or this future or I'm terrified of losing my job or losing my spouse or dying,” like you can name the fear. It's a very conscious fear. But both unconscious fears and conscious fear stop us because, often, even the conscious fears, we are conscious that there's a fear there, but we're not conscious that we're bigger than the fear. You follow? Right? Yeah. We're conscious that I'm afraid of this thing but I guess part of my mission today for the podcast is to open you up to realize that, "Oh, the fear doesn't have to control you. You can control the fear.” You can be conscious of a fear, but unconscious of how it's impacting you versus today, the focus is to be conscious of your fears, and conscious of how you allow the fear to impact you, to affect you, positive or negative.
And then when you're aware, you can choose for it not to be a negative detrimental impact, and you can go, “Okay. I got a fear. Cool. No big deal. I'm going to learn from this.” And here's the problem. When your fears remain unconscious, whether it's an unconscious fear, which we haven't really gotten into yet, we'll talk about that in a second or it's a conscious fear, either way, when you're unconscious about the effect your fears are having on you, whether they're the unconscious fears or the conscious fears, when you're unconscious about the effect they're having in your life, that's when they become detrimental. That's when you know you don't have control. In terms of an unconscious fear, there's something that you could call original fear. In fact, I was reading a book, I've been reading a bunch of books on fear so I'm losing track on which one. Whenever I prepare for a podcast, I usually read a bunch of books, a bunch of articles, listen to podcast, like I try to just dive in and really to add to my own knowledge or experience I often or I should say, “Oh, he's just about always go to other resources as well.”
In fact, I want to look up this book because I always mispronounce the author's name. So, the book is called Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. All right. I probably got that wrong pronouncing words. So, he talks about original fear and original fear is the fear that develops within our nervous system and our subconscious mind right after we're born and then it continues through that first year or years of life, and it's the fear of abandonment. We realize as children that, "Hey, if these adults don't give me food or take care of me, I can't take care of myself. I can't support myself.” It's very unconscious, but it's born when we're born essentially. You're in the womb. You're in your mother's womb and it's pretty cozy and peaceful and you're protected from sound and light and all of the things. And then the moment you're born, you're shoved into a world of sound and light and strange noises and visions. You think about it, like, that's got to be dramatic. You're like, "Whoa, whoa, what's going on? I've been showing for nine months and now things just got crazy. Where am I?”
Of course, you don't have the language to have that inner dialogue but the point is that is arguably where the initial fear begins, and it grows, it stays with us throughout our entire life. And we're afraid that's where loneliness often or the fear of being alone is stemming from that original fear of being abandoned, being alone. He gave an example, in the book, that if you find you like to always be around other people, you'd like to work at a coffee shop every day. That would be potentially a manifestation of original fear. Another place where our unconscious fears come from is really from our past, and it's such as if you had trauma, if you experienced trauma in your life, a lot of fears can develop from that trauma. I actually, interestingly enough when my sister died, I was nine and she was a year-and-a-half. She was a baby. If you don't know the story, I woke up to my mother screaming across the hall and I ran across the hall and she was screaming, "My baby! My baby!” and she was crying. I looked at my nine or 18-month-old sister was dead in her arms and my mom was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When I was nine, my dad was at work, my sister was at my grandmother's house and that day, my sister went to the hospital with my mom and dad. They went in the ambulance. My dad came home from work. They jumped in an ambulance. I went to a friend's house. I had a family friend pick me up, and my dad called me from the hospital, and he said, “Hal,” and I never heard my dad cry before and he was crying. I said, "Hey, how's Amery? Is she okay?” My sister's name was Amery. “So, is she okay?” And my dad said crying, he said, "She's in a better place, Hal. She's in heaven. She's in a better place.” And at nine, my brain was like, “What? My sister is dead that I was playing with yesterday?” It was hard to comprehend. I don't remember the emotion that I was feeling at that time but I can tell you what I did. I walked into the other room. I was with my friend, Ben, and his mom, Janine, and I think Janine had talked to my dad so I think she already knew the news of my sister passing away. Janine looked at me. I do remember her like kind of tilting her head and like having this look of like sadness on her face and I came out and I said, “Hey, guys. Guess where my sister is?”
Again, Janine kind of looked at me and furrowed her brow and my friend Ben had no idea. He goes, “Where?” I said, "She's in heaven. Isn't that great? Heaven’s like the best place ever.” And so again, I don't remember. I can't tap into the emotions I was feeling then. I would imagine it was kind of confusion and not really knowing what emotions to feel and I would imagine that there was emotions, even if they were borrowed from my dad, that were welling up inside of that were coming from him that were starting to well up inside me, and I didn't like them. If you look at that definition of fear, a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger. I would imagine, I started experiencing a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling. Just hearing my dad cry, I know that probably created that feeling inside of me. And so, that became a fear and what happened was I immediately unconsciously at that moment, the brain is a pretty miraculous organism, the psyche does play tricks, it does what it needs to do to protect itself.
I think that my theory is, and I've done some work with some different psychologists and healers on this to try to figure it out. But the theory is that, at that moment, I went, “I don't like the way these emotions that are starting to come up for feeling for me. So, I'm going to put on a smile and I'm going to make it fun. I'm going to make it funny. I'm going to get lighthearted. “Guess where my sister is? She's in heaven. Isn't that great? Heaven’s a great place.” And that was a defining moment because for the rest of my life, that became how I responded to things, and it kind of became my superpower in a way. If I have any superpower, it's really been able to handle extreme adversity without experiencing significant amounts of fear. When I had my car accident in age 20 and I was told I would never wake up from a coma, told I was hit head-on by a drunk driver, broke 11 bones, would never walk again, and I just was like, "Well, can't change it. I might as well be the happiest person you've ever seen in a wheelchair.” And so, I didn't experience really any fear over not walking. I was just like, "Well, I'm just accepting it.” There's other things that go into that I've talked about on previous podcasts.
I'd studied Buddhism and enlightenment quite a bit and read the Power of Now, before I had my car accident and I had learned about the power of accepting the things we can't change to give ourselves that gift of inner peace so that we can gracefully move through our challenges rather than being stunted, being paralyzed is a better word, being paralyzed by fear. Then when I had my cancer, it was the same thing, the second time this major adversity, diagnosed with cancer and told I had a 70% to 80% chance of dying, which meant leaving my seven-year-old daughter and my four-year-old son without their dad, that is the most terrifying thing for me. But I spent very little time in fear and we’re going to talk about how to do that like how do you do that? But I think where this was born, and when I say it's a superpower, there's also the other side of the coin is that I lacked empathy for people and I lacked empathy because I had never been where they were emotionally. I had never been in such a dark place that I couldn't get out of it. And so, when people would be there and come to me while I've been able to help a lot of people with the way that I view the world or the strategies that I share, definitely, I couldn't connect. So, I would really just kind of throw out a solution, but I couldn't empathize. I couldn't feel what they were feeling.
And that wasn't until about a year ago, maybe a little more than a year ago, when I was on chemo for three years, my brain felt like I lost control and I started developing these irrational - actually, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and I developed these irrational fears. I thought people were going to kill me, I thought I had extraordinary anxiety and I got so depressed that I lost the will to live. I had no will to live. I used to talk myself every day into living, basically. I remember I would ask the question, is there any way that I could kill myself that I could take my own life, maybe drive my car off of a bridge? I would literally picture the bridge near our house. I mean, this is very real and I would go, "Is there a way I could do that without causing negative consequences to my family, especially to my kids and to my wife?” And I would literally brainstorm like how could I do that? I would try to think it is. I go, “Well, maybe if I recorded a whole series of videos, like every lesson that I wanted to teach my kids, and if I had those videos, then they would still be able to see me and have me in their life.”
I mean, you guys, I know that sounds crazy but this is where I was at. I was trying to figure. I woke up and I couldn't, I hated life, and I hated the way I felt I should say. My life was great. My family was great. Life was great. So, there were no circumstances causing depression. It was just my chemotherapy, what it did to my brain, and it's the side effects of that chemotherapy that was on a few. Every single one of them, the side effects was depression. And the side effects one of them, I remember, it said, this can cause severe depression if you're on it for longer than 30 days. And I go, “I've been on this for 42 months.” Not one month, 42 months. So, even with my so-called superpower, like the human body and the human brain can only take so much. So, anyway, as normal, like kind of going off on a tangent here, getting back to it but I realized that at nine years old, that's really when I developed that switch was flipped when my sister died. And I went, "Hey, I don't like feeling painful emotions. So, I'm going to find the positive in everything,” and that's really where that started.
And then it was fostered throughout my entire life with different experiences because we all experience, we filter our experiences, we receive and view our experiences based on our paradigm, or paradigms that we live by. So, if someone naturally views the world as a negative place or they view that people are out to get them, we look for supporting evidence to support our beliefs and our paradigms. And so, for me, because I chose at nine to just view the world through a positive lens, I continue to find strategies that would support that belief. The opposite of someone who viewed the world through a negative lens would find strategies to support that belief and then they would typically discount any strategies that supported the other paradigm. That's what we do. It's that cognitive bias that we all experienced, and you can say suffer from then often it stunts our growth, if you don't reflect. That's why for me, reflection is an ongoing thing where I'm going, “Hmm, okay, what if the opposite were true?” My neighbor, Tim [Nikolayev – 23:46], who I need to have on the podcast. He's become like a celebrity because I quote him a lot.
But Tim is he practices something called conscious leadership based on the book, Conscious Leadership by Jim and Debbie Dethmer I think but it's Conscious Leadership. One of the core strategies is to always ask, “What if the opposite were true?” and that's a way to really see the big picture, to see both sides of a story, both sides of a situation and opinion. I think right now, I mentioned earlier, our country's divided. Now more than ever, we need to be asking ourselves, what if the opposite were true? And then looking for that. It’s something that I do. I don't just watch media that supports my bias. I always watch both sides and I look for the truth. I calm my nervous system. I go, “Okay. I'm going to watch this other thing that I think they're really pushing an agenda that I don't really buy into, but I'm going to look for the truth.” And it's easier said than done but at least I think making the attempt that’s crucial. I’m being aware of multiple sides of an issue. I don't know who said that but there was a philosopher once that said, "One of the signs of a genius,” I'm paraphrasing. I don't know if it’s exactly how it was said but, "One of the signs of a genius is to be able to hold two opposing ideas at the same time.”
What's an example? Here's an example. Exactly what we're talking about right now, what I've kind of been sharing the last few minutes, the idea that whether you focus completely through a positive lens or through a negative lens. To me, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle and it is in this case too. So, before I had experienced that depression and that darkness and that suicidal thoughts, I was pure positivity. And most people are, I guess, I didn't even I just thought everybody was kind of like me but my wife would be like, "You're not normal. This isn't normal.” She would say sometimes, "You're a robot like you don't feel.” I go, “I feel happy. What do you mean I don’t feel? I feel happy all the time.” She goes, “Yeah, but you don't feel the other side of the human experience.” Literally, because I had flipped that switch at nine and conditioned myself to be that positive, I couldn't even go there. I couldn't go there. I didn’t know how to feel bad like I would almost never cry, which also she would say, "You're a robot. You can't cry.” But I would almost never cry but sometimes I would try and I could not for the life of me, couldn't get myself to cry. I could not get myself to cry.
Like, I would try. I would focus on things and I'd happen one day in a meditation that maybe this might have been what set me off on this path of darkness, I don't know, because I was on a meditation and I really tried to cry. I was in this deep, long meditation, and the whole purpose of it was for me to get in touch with all of my field, my whole emotional spectrum, and to cry. I started thinking, "You know what,” and I was praying, I was meditating, and I started thinking about, I was thinking, what would make me sad? Like, what would be some of the hardest things I could lose in my life? And I started thinking about losing my kids and then I like shake. I'm like I didn't want to think that. And then I thought about my wife leaving me and taking my kids. I all of a sudden started bawling and like finally the floodgates broke and I finally tapped into what I think was suppressed emotions. I started bawling and then that was part of the beginning of I went through a period when I was going through those irrational fears and depression. I was crying all the time like every day. I literally went from crying probably a handful of times in my entire life, not exaggerating, to crying almost every single day. And when someone says, “Hey, Hal. How's it going?” I would just start crying like friends, colleagues, people that you would never normally cry in front of, I couldn't control it. It was wild.
So, anyway, all right, diving back in. So, one of the causes of fear, it's our unconscious fears. It could be that original fear of abandonment, of being alone, of the general danger of not being able to take care of yourself. That's often why we seek completeness in a partner because that original fear manifests, or trauma, any trauma that you've had in your life. There's residual effects of that trauma and it can create depending on the trauma, it can really affect the fear. So, if your trauma was that you were abandoned, by one of your parents or both your parents when you were younger, that can create extraordinary fear of abandonment. If you really tried to achieve something important in your life, especially in your young life, and you failed, and it had a perceived negative consequence where you felt embarrassed or maybe someone scolded you for failing, right, whatever it was, that can create this residual fear of failure. So, based on various traumas throughout your life and they can be micro traumas. It doesn't have to be something radical or major. It could literally be somebody making fun of you at school and now you have an intense fear of rejection that was born out of that trauma. So, that's an example of unconscious fears either the original fear or born from your various traumas in life. Again, a trauma could be a failure or something else.
The second is your conscious fears. So, here's where conscious fears I think, right now, this is I would almost argue that conscious fears right now are more dominant for a lot of us. And for many of us, they do bring up the unconscious fears. So, there's definitely a correlation. It's hard to tell where the unconscious fear begins and ends and where the conscious fear begins and ends, but conscious fears would be over something that typically hasn't happened yet. You don't have a fear over the past. The past is the past. It happened. You dealt with it. You handled it. You move forward. But our conscious fears are usually over the future. And specifically, the fear, a conscious fear is something we generate based on our perceived inability to handle future circumstances. So, it's your perceived inability, not a real inability. In fact, your abilities are quite the opposite. You up until this point, think about it. Everything you've ever feared in your life, you have a 100% success rate of overcoming that fear. You're still here, overcoming that thing that you were afraid of. Same with me, all of us. Think about that.
So, I'll say that again. Conscious fears are born from our perceived inability to handle future circumstances. So, I'll just use the cancer example that if you were to ask me, “Hal, would you be afraid of getting cancer?” I am sure I don't really remember but I'm sure that would have been a fear, like, heck, yeah, that would be terrifying. But then when I got cancer, I'm like, “Oh, I have cancer. Nothing to be afraid of.” Now, then, of course, then went to the fear of death. That fear came up for sure, fearing leaving my kids without me. But the point is that when you actually encounter the thing, that you are allowing to create fear for you. Essentially, you could say when you finally encounter the object of your fear, the fear typically kind of disappears because now you're face-to-face with that thing that you were fearing in your mind because fear is created in the mind. And so, when you finally encounter that thing, you acclimate to it. It just becomes your new reality, and you deal with it, and then, of course, your mind will come up with a new fear, of a new perceived circumstance that you don't feel like you can handle.
So, the thing to realize about fear, no matter whether it's an unconscious fear or a conscious fear, no matter what the cause is, is that what you fear, the things that you fear, the object of your fear isn't actually what's causing your fear. We tend to think it is. I'm afraid of that happening. I'm afraid of that happening. So, my fear is from that thing happening. The fear is of if that were to happen, the what-if. But fear is self-created and it is an illusion. The good news about that is that we have the power to stop. You have the power to stop creating fear. So, fear is itself created and it's an illusion because it's not tangible. It doesn't exist. It's not real. It's totally in your mind. And you could say there are some sciences that would show you it actually can be stored in your body as well. But let's just deal with the mind, the component of fear being something in your mind. Again, the good news is, if you realize, “Oh, my fears are all self-created and self-perpetuated.” So, that means if I choose to, if you choose to, you can transcend your fears. You can overcome your fears.
Remember, if you don't, there's both inner and outer consequences, the inner consequence being the detriment to your mental and emotional well-being. Everything can be going well in your life but you're living in a fear state based on a perceived future that you don't think you can handle. So, the fear of that becomes your everyday reality. And I would imagine that many people listening to this right now, many of you are probably like, “Oh my gosh, that's me. I'm living in fear every day over things that aren't actually happening right now.” I forgot where I read this recently. I was reading I don't know if it was a book or I don't know where this was. I feel like it was like a - I don't know where it was but basically said, "Your fears or the things you fear are meant to be endured once when they actually happen. Not over and over and over and over again in your mind,” because remember, the mind cannot make the distinction between what is real and what is vividly imagined. I'll say that again, the mind cannot make a clear distinction between what is real, what's actually happening and what is vividly imagined.
That's why when you have a nightmare, you wake up in a cold sweat, and you're breathing heavy because the mind can't tell the difference between what is vividly imagined, aka your nightmare, and what's actually happening. So, you wake up going, “Oh, my God. I’m being chased by a guy with a knife. Wait, I'm in my bed,” but then you're breathing heavy. Sorry. I just breathe heavy into the microphone. But you're breathing heavy, right? Because your mind thinks you're actually being chased by a guy with a knife. And when you live in a fear state, your mind and body don't know that it's not actually happening. If you're afraid of getting sick from COVID or you're afraid of losing someone in your life. I know somebody in my life, who is afraid of their spouse leaving them and I also know their spouse very well, I know their spouse will never leave them. Think about that for a second. So, the one spouse, when it's all just say the wife, the wife is terrified that her spouse is going to leave her someday that she's not good enough, which those are fears that are born from when she was in, I would imagine when she was in young in school and being rejected by kids at school, and then that created the fear that she wasn't good enough.
But I know her spouse and I know her spouse will never leave. He and I have talked like he will never leave her. He has no intention but she lives almost every day in a fear state. And one thing I want to say about that is how subtle it can be. So, think about this for a second. So, even for me, I'm like I'm so positive. I don't have much fear. In fact, the other night when I was falling asleep, I realized this. I suddenly live in fear all the time. Like it's very subtle but I am totally afraid of people not liking me. I am afraid of, therefore, what people will think of me. I'm definitely afraid of the future of our society right now. There's a lot going on that's unprecedented, at least in modern times. You know what I mean? Yeah. Anyway, I have fears and I realized that they don't consume me but they're definitely there. They're subtly there. And I do think it's a difference between a subtle fear and an all-encompassing fear. I mean, if you're living in fear, where you're not sleeping, and that's really impacting you but subtle fears are impacting us at a subtle level. So, again, this is a couple I know. The wife is afraid, always, that she's not good enough, and that her spouse is going to leave her and I know him, and he's not going to leave her ever. And he reassures her all the time but these fears are deeply rooted.
So, the point being that even though he's probably never going to leave her, she's lived, I don't know how long you've been married. I think almost as long as I have so what? Like 10 years or so, 11 years, 12 years? I think they were married before us but, yeah, so she lives as if he's going to leave her and that's her everyday reality. And so, what is yours? What are your fears that you allow to permeate your consciousness that may or may not ever happen but you're living as if you do? Your inner world as if they're real. Your mental and emotional state are impacted by something that may or may not ever happen. And by the way, if it is going to happen, like if you know for sure, this thing's coming down the pipe, like I just found out that I'm going bankrupt, or I'm losing my business or losing my house, or my spouse is divorcing me or whatever. So, let's say it's a real thing happening. You go, “Hal, I'm not just afraid of something that may or may not happen. I'm actually afraid of what it's going to be like when the thing has happened that I know is already in motion and it's already going to happen.” Just in case you're curious like, because those are two different things, fear of something that may or may not happen versus fear of something that's inevitable, it's on its way.
Like death is a great example, fear of death. But the fear of the inevitable is to realize that you are equipped to handle anything and everything that comes your way. I'll say that again. You are equipped, you are stronger than you realize. In fact, there is no limit to how much strength you have. You are equipped to handle whatever comes your way and that, by the way, is one of my first keys to overcoming freedom from fear or to overcoming fear, to achieving freedom from fear. Experiencing freedom from fear is to acknowledge that you are capable and equipped. Write that down actually. That wasn't planned. No, it's that you are capable and equipped to handle anything that comes your way. Anything that comes your way, right? And you are. And that's why I said fear is something that it's usually in your mind over something that hasn't happened. And when it happens, you're like, “Oh, geez, okay, I got to deal with this,” and then you deal with it. Then, of course, you still get to choose if you deal with it like a victim and go, “Oh, this is terrible. It's horrible.” Or you go, "You know what, everything I fear is really an opportunity to learn, grow, and become better than I've ever been before. One of my key affirmations, right, every challenge, every adversity, everything that I fear is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become better than I've ever been before. So, bring it on, bring it on. I want the big challenges because I want to grow.
Your muscle doesn't grow until you challenge it, until you stress it, until you tear it. And then it heals. We don't grow until we stretch ourselves, we face challenges, and we find out what we're really made of. When I was a kid or teenager, if you would have said, "Hey, Hal, how do you think you'd respond if you were hit head-on by a drunk driver and broke 11 bones and broke your leg and told you’re never going to walk again. I would have been in tears. I've been like, “Oh my god.” Actually, I already told you guys I don't cry very much or I used to not cry very much. So, I wouldn't have been in tears but that would have been terrifying. That'd be terrifying. But when it happened, it was simply reality and you deal with it, you acclimate to it, you find out what you're made of, and we are all limitless. We are all limitless. You are limitless. There's nothing, there is nothing that you can't overcome. There's nothing that you can't handle. There's nothing. You can handle anything. So, there's no reason to fear anything. There's no reason to fear the future because whatever is coming your way, whatever comes your way, you can handle it.
Let's leave it at that. Let's leave it at that. And that's going to be the first episode around fear in the series. And that's my first strategy for you, to give yourself the gift of freedom from fear is you've got to own your abilities. You've got to own your limitless abilities. You've got to own that you can overcome anything that comes your way. Let's start there. And by the way, do it in writing. Please, please, please, please do this in writing or you're going to forget it and it's going to have no long-term lasting impact on you. So, what do you put in writing? An affirmation that you read on the daily and that affirmation could be what I just said earlier around fear and in fact, I think I gave you the short version. The longer version of my affirmation is there is nothing to fear because I cannot fail. I can only learn, grow, and become better than I've ever been before. Again, there is nothing to fear because I cannot fail. I can only learn, grow, and become better than I've ever been before. Start there. And of course, language is important. Use words if you need to edit that or change it up, please do.
But if you start from a place of power, from a place of and it's really a place of self-love, right, just loving yourself like if you were talking to someone that you love in your life, you would reassure them you can handle anything. I believe in you. You can do it. Well, look in the mirror and tell yourself you can handle anything. I believe in you. You can do this, I love you. Alright. When fear comes your way, embrace it. Embrace it. Don't resist it. Embrace it because you can handle anything. And when you realize that the thing you're afraid of isn't real, at least not in this moment because once it is here, once it is this moment, there's no fear. There's just dealing with the situation that you allow yourself to experience fear over. So, when you understand that, you realize that, “Yeah, there really is nothing to fear. There is no point of me living a situation in a place of fear that hasn't happened yet.” Now, there's value in it momentarily because you might change a direction, do something differently so that fear is again, that's where fear it serves you. Remember, it's there to protect you. They’re there to protect you from danger. Danger could be in the form of a mistake but when you realize that, the purpose of fear is to extract value from it, to ask yourself, what's this fear here to teach me? What should I learn from this fear? What should I do differently because of this fear? As soon as you've extracted the lesson, you let the fear go. I'm done. No point being afraid in this moment because life is for living. Life isn't for living in fear. Life is for living in this moment.
Hal Elrod: We'll talk more about that on next week's podcast about how to use mindfulness and live in this moment, so that you're not living in a future and creating fear for yourself. Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community, I love you. I appreciate you. Thanks for listening. And last but not least, if you didn't see the movie yet, you can go over to Amazon Prime Video and rent it or buy it there or you can go to Vimeo. And by the way, for all of our listeners that speak various languages, we were not able to do this on Amazon yet. I think they're working through these but foreign languages we have on Vimeo. The film is in 12 different languages. In fact, I can read those off for you real quick. Hold on, I sent a screenshot to my assistant earlier with the languages. It's English, simplified Chinese, Dutch, German, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese traditional, French, Italian, Polish, and Spanish. So, the Miracle Morning Movie on Vimeo is in those 12 languages. And then Amazon I think it's just in English right now but they're working on all the languages. So, we're working on more languages too but that's what we got so far.
All right, freedom from fear. You deserve to live free from fear and I hope today was helpful. Remember, start by owning your ability to handle anything that comes your way so, therefore, there's no reason to fear it. And then next week, we're going to talk further about how to free yourself from fear. I love you, I appreciate you, I'll say it one more time, and I'll talk to you all next week.
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