Fear Is Not Real (Fear Is A Choice)

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danger is real fear is a choice Fear Is Not 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)

Read also: Overcoming Fear (Get Out Of The Future)

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  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. says

    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. says

    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…

  4. says

    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. :-)

  5. says

    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. :-)

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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.

  8. Sherrie Roderick says

    I loved this line in the movie, it left an impact on my mind. Very good article, thank you for your work.

  9. says

    I am so grateful to be guided to your website. Thank you so much HT Lee for this post about fear. I suffer from many fears. This really hit home, and I am in total agreement with your comments as well as Mr. Michael Neill’s! Thoughts create our lives! Have a wonderful day sir! Peace, love, and joy always! dp

  10. says

    Wow you put it so nicely danger is real but fear is choice. True. I fear darkness. I am a writer by profession and passion. So no matter how hard I try darkness pushes the boundaries of my imagination. I know there are no ghosts. But when the lights switch off, my reasoning does too.

  11. says

    Very interesting thoughts here. My father always says – “You choose to give in to fear, or you choose to conquer it. Whatever you do, don’t panic.”
    I find that sometimes, it is as easy as taking a deep breath and saying “Ok, that’s the last of it. Now, move on.” Sometimes, it requires a lot of thought and fitful starts.
    No matter what, I try not to panic :)

    Thanks for stopping by at my blog, https://toughfitgirls.wordpress.com

    • says

      Yes Radhika. On one level, it’s CHOICE. On another level, it’s seeing fear for what it is, and the Principle of Thought in action. Thanks for dropping by too. ;)

  12. says

    I appreciated the “like”on my blog post. I would “like” this one if I knew where the link is to do so. I missed that link somewhere.

    I agree that danger is real and, obviously, has to be addressed depending on the situation. I have seen some people be scared of some things that others would not be scared of. I have mostly seen managed fear combined with respect for the situation. Fear is an emotion and how we respond to that fear is a choice. Sometimes that fear is warranted.

    Some people are scared of electricity and won’t come near a wire. That is a choice based on fear of the unknown and lack of training. Those of us that are trained on where the danger is know what to respect and how to handle the situation since we know how to handle the dangers involved.

    Many people are scared of flying. Some people choose to manage that fear and fly anyway, and some won’t get on a plane at all. The inherent danger of flying is always there, but some feel no real fear, and some who do simply decide to control their fear and choose courage and fly when it’s necessary.

    Personally, I have a fear of public speaking. It’s not really important to me to overcome that fear at this point, but the day may come when I choose to address it. I may start going to meetings where I have a chance to speak. I have considered doing this simply to overcome a fear of getting in front of a mass of people.

    So, danger is certainly real in certain situations, but how much danger is really there sometimes depends on the mindset of the individual.

    Overcoming fear is a choice. I believe it takes courage to do something in spite of fear, and a confidence is instilled on the other side.

    I have always had a huge respect for somebody that I knew was incredibly scared of something, chose to address their fear, and then gained a skill or accomplished a task.

    These are my thoughts. Some may agree with what I wrote and some may not. Fear is an interesting subject. I am always for people who face their fears.


    Scott Moore


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