(Living Inside the Bubble)
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear—fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist
Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.
— William Congreve, English dramatist
Fear is natural, its evolutionary, it’s a survival mechanism in many of its forms. It has been said that the only fears we are actually born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears you now live with are learned as you grow up. A child isn’t born afraid of certain social situations. No one is predisposed to a fear of airplanes. You didn’t fear failure when you were in infant.
Fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. You will notice the portion of the definition I have underlined. This is extremely significant. Much like depression, fear is an internal experience. If you don’t think so then how is it that one man can be passionate about bull riding or cage fighting when other men would tremble at the mere thought of engaging in either? Why does someone like myself find jumping out of an airplane exhilarating while others find merely stepping on to an airplane terrifying?
Antonyms of fear include; courage, security, and calm. You will notice that these are words that you would associate with higher energy levels. You can think of fear as a bubble that surrounds you or an invisible jail. This is only conceptual but it might as well be real because its effects certainly are in your life. If you are unwilling to learn new concepts or try new things or be open to new ideas you are living inside your bubble. The size and the limitations are governed solely by your ability to overcome the fear and expand the bubble. Ultimately your goal should be to burst it completely.
This bubble effect manifests itself in numerous ways and limits your potential energy. The simplest and probably most common is not believing in yourself. If you think to yourself, “I would love to become a bestselling author or a renowned artist” but quickly come up with reason after reason why that reality could never be you then it won’t and you have subconsciously created your bubble. Remember, the bubble is merely a tool to give a conceptual framework. The very real tragedy of living inside it however is that your true potential energy is limited or even reduced by choosing to remain locked inside. Many people remain locked inside for their entire lives with the bubble contracting smaller and smaller as their energies dissipate and fears become stronger.
What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.
I have found the bubble example to be one of the most effective ways of visualizing the power of fear over your life. There has likely been a time in your life where you elected not to take a job or some other opportunity due to the fear of the unknown. This could have been the fear of moving, the fear of new work environment, the fear of failure, or any other fear. What is important is that if you chose not to take the opportunity because of any of your fears you have unconsciously chosen to stay locked inside your bubble. Eventually, this bubble becomes like a safety net and instead of having a negative or limiting connotation to your perception it is a protector of sorts. This is not the case though. Remember, our perception is extremely subjective and governed by our perspective and experience. If you have never allowed yourself to have a positive experience outside of your “safety” bubble then your mind is arguably justified in this interpretation. Ironically, this same warped perception allows us to explain away those things occurring within this so-called bubble as just part of life and see them as inspiration to venture outward. In this lies the seed of delusion. Delusion and its catastrophic effects will be addressed in the next chapter.
Now let’s consider the effect fear has on your energy. In Section III you will learn about numerous ways to accumulate your energies to achieve your true potential. To put it simply, fear does the opposite. It prevents you from accumulating your energies by tricking you into believing no good can come. Fear is a self-fulfilling dynamic just the same as positivity. It’s fair to say that negativity is an extension of fear just as antonyms of fear include courage or audacity. A good example of how one view or the other can affect your behavior and vis a vie be self fulfilling is the following story:
Negativity or pessimism naturally leads you to inactivity. Think about it. If you don’t believe you can achieve a goal or find reasons to fear the process you will inevitably put yourself in a state of inactivity. After all, what’s the point in trying when you won’t be successful? This is fear in one of its purest manifestations. You are fearing regretting the work if it does not result in the successful culmination you envision. This is a condition that you must actively seek to combat. Just as any other action or inaction in your life effects your energy and creates and strengthens neural pathways in your mind, so will this. Eventually the pathways become so entrenched you become locked within this prison (or bubble) of anxiety about doing almost anything in life.
The first step in combating this condition is the realization that anxiety is nothing more than a mental projection of a negative outcome in any given situation. In this context you can think of it as the polar opposite of positivity. Positivity can be characterized by certainty or acceptance of a positive answer or result. Once you have made this first realization you can begin to address the next step in confronting your fear or negaitivity.
The next step is to reframe the fear or negativity. In other words, rather than looking at an event or experience as an end re-evaluate or reframe it as a step or a tool to be applied to your eventual successful completion of whatever challenge you face. Consider if the Beatles had given up on music after an unsuccessful performance early in their career because they had chosen to see this as an end rather than a step on their ladder to the ultimate success they would eventually achieve. You must be flexible. You must be willing to consistently adapt and be resourceful. Only then do you begin to tap into the true energy available to you anywhere and everywhere.