Fear Is Not Real (Fear Is A Choice)

danger is real, fear is a choice

The most memorable line from a movie trailer out this summer has got to be from After Earth, starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. This is the line:

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”

I’ve been thinking about the “Fear is not real” idea, and at the same time, I had recently been immersing myself in the Three Principles (Mind, Consciousness, Thought), and had meant to write a post on it.

The Three Principles (originated from Sydney Banks) is the most profound concept I’ve come across in years, which is taught by coaches like Michael Neill and Jamie Smart, of whose work I could really appreciate. I’m working to write on my personal understanding on the Three Principles on a later date, as I’m learning and living it everyday.

Today’s post is on the subject of fear – is it real, is it a choice? And I saw Michael Neill wrote this on his newsletter recently and agreed with his thoughts. There’s no point rewriting what Michael has already written quite brilliantly. Here it is.

It’s a beautiful sentiment, but each time I watch the trailer, the same question occurs for me:

Is fear really a choice?

In order to answer that question, let’s first take a deeper look at the nature of fear.

What is fear, really? Have you ever wondered where it goes when it’s not there anymore? Or where it comes from in the first place?

One of the most interesting things about fear is that it always seems to either come from something outside of us (an environmental stimulus) or from something inside our heads but separate from us – what my mentor George Pransky calls “psychological bogeymen”.

Yet when you look closely, you’ll find that every fear you experience is actually made of thought. It’s not “false evidence appearing real”, as the acronym suggests – it’s thought appearing real. We react to the thought of a raccoon biting or dentist drilling or person shouting as if it was actually happening to us right here, right now, and then attribute our fear to the raccoon, dentist, or person shouting.

In The Inside-Out Revolution, I share the analogy of a person drawing a picture of a monster on a piece of paper and then running out of the room in terror. The exact moment the person sees that the monster is just a drawing and can’t hurt it, the fear is gone and there’s nothing left to be done.

imagine waking up from a nightmare. One moment you’re totally engrossed in fighting off vampire zombies and the next your eyes are open and the vampire zombies are gone. You may still have a little bit of adrenaline coursing through your veins, but there are no lasting after-effects. No healing is necessary. You just get up and get on with your day.

We notice a scary thought in our mind, and because we do not recognize thought as the creator of the feeling, we are run ragged by it.  We do all sorts of things to avoid an imaginary consequence that has been constructed in our own mind. But the moment we recognize that only thought can create feeling, the very same thing that was so frightening becomes fascinating.

And the same possibility for freedom exists at the heart of all fear. The moment we see that our own deepest, darkest fears are 100% made of thought, we open up the space in our minds for our innate health, wisdom, and well-being to come through. There may well still be things to do in the world to create the outcomes we desire – but we will do them based on what is actually wanted and needed in each situation, not as a knee-jerk fight or flight response to our own unrecognized thinking. And in the very moment we recognize that thought is the only creator of our experience, the same world that once seemed so frightening becomes an endlessly, wonderfully fascinating place to be.

Which brings us back to our initial question:

Is fear really a choice?

Well, In those moments where i recognize thought as the source of my fear, we could say I can choose whether or not to indulge them – but that’s like saying you have a choice between hitting yourself in the head with a 2×4 or not hitting yourself in the head with it. In those moments where you’re aware that’s where your headache is coming from, you’re extremely unlikely to choose to keep doing it.

Since I don’t even know what I’m going to be thinking sixty seconds from now, it’s apparent to me that the vast majority of the time, I don’t choose my thoughts. And since fear is made of thought, it seems to me that the majority of the time, I don’t really choose whether or not to feel afraid.

But here’s the good news:

Since I can at least intellectually recognize that the source of all fear is thought, I don’t have to make a big deal out of being afraid. I neither need to hide from seemingly scary things nor “feel the fear and do it anyways”. I can simply move forward in the face of all my ever changing thoughts, including the scary ones. And because I’m not scared of fear, I am left with something even more powerful than choice – true and absolute freedom.

(taken from Michael Neill’s Weekly Coaching Tip #870 – Is Fear a Choice?)

I really like the last line – more than the power of choice, you have the freedom. I can’t wait to catch the movie.

fear is not real Fear Is Not Real (Fear Is A Choice)

 

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About HT Lee

Coach Hwai Tah, the founder of Coaching-Journey.com, is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

He stands in the gap of where organizations and individuals are and their extraordinary future and dreams. He engages leaders in thought-provoking process to accomplish big professional and personal goals.

Operating from his base in Malaysia and the surrounding region, Hwai Tah’s specialized areas of coaching includes performance, leadership, executive and life coaching.

Comments

  1. sangeeta chellam says:

    I found this post to be very interesting…and I’ll be delighted to read more of these in the future.

  2. This is very interesting am of the same opinion fear is in the mind you are the one who determine if its fake or real.(fear is a choice).

  3. Thanks for stopping by and logging a “like.” I will be visiting here more often!

  4. Interesting thoughts…. Dr. Richard Wiseman has some interesting thoughts about this… Is it possible we react in a way that we have learned is fear… we can retrain our reactions and interpretations… Hmmm…

  5. Only if you fear god and have faith then there is no fear.

  6. Hello and thanks for stopping by my blog and liking a recent post. I always appreciate when someone takes the time to do that, plus it helps direct me to what they’re up to, like this post of yours on fear. Good read (although I didn’t really hear anything good about the After Earth movie from reviewers ). I will have to feature your article as a tip in one of my upcoming posts. :-)

  7. Wow! I am so excited to see a blog on this. I saw this movie and was completely floored by the quote you mentioned. Thanks for reminding me of it. I think I might go do a blog on my thoughts as well. :-)

  8. Thanks for stopping by at my blog and for liking one of my post ”Do not give room to hardness of heart”. I do hope you had a good time. I look forward to more of your visit while I frequent yours as well. I really like your blog and your way of blogging. Keep it up. Blessing!

  9. Kathryn Mossier says:

    Yes. Fear is a choice. I’ve a choice everyday. Our thoughts are indeed so powerful.

  10. Fear is often our first response when we feel unsafe or out of control of our situation.

  11. Thank you for stopping by at my blog and for liking on of my posts. May the blessing of the Lord rest upon you and your love ones in the name of Jesus Christ.

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