I didn’t realise how much fear is holding me back!

I am on a journey of personal development right now. I use the Brian Johnson Heroic App to try and improve every day. I meditate. I have read books by Tim Ferriss, Eckhart Lotte, John Kim (The Angry Therapist), and Cal Newport. I have read autobiographies by Matthew McConaughey and Will Smith — but to quote Bono and U2, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I am a realist. I don’t believe I will ever find enlightenment — I’m not even sure I will ever be able to define it.

However, I am pretty happy that by seeking an optimised life, I am moving in the right direction, and these marginal gains over the remainder of my life will ultimately end in some real progress.

Screenshot of the Heroic App Virtue Compass

I value the Cal Newport approach to finding your passion by developing rare and valuable skills. I love to use the Heroic compass when thinking about how to get the most from my life. And I like the theory of Eckhart Lotte and the Headspace App teachings of mindfulness meditation and how to bring non-judgmental consciousness into your life.

When trying to implement the above, I am starting to find that when confronted with a problem, I stop myself from reacting (not constantly, but I’m getting there) and take the time to move up the three levels of consciousness before deciding how I want to respond.

By acting, not reacting.

When looking at the decisions I make in my life, depending upon the situation, I find that I sometimes REact on all levels:

  • Level 0 — autopilot/unconscious reactions. E.g. honking my horn at someone who cuts me up while driving.
  • Level 1 — React based on physical conditions. E.g. the fact that it is raining outside puts me in a bad mood.
  • Level 2 — React based on ‘the voice in my head’ and my feelings. E.g. internal chatter about things I’ve done wrong builds feelings of anxiety and forces me to avoid opportunities to progress.
  • Level 3 — ACT to change a situation from a place of non-judgemental consciousness. I am struggling to find an example, e.g. listening to someone who has an opposing view to mine and accepting that people are different rather than trying to convert them to my way of thinking.

One thing that has become clear to me when pursuing the above is that often my response is not always in line with what I know I should be doing. My fear of the potential consequences often leads to inaction on my part.

This reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite TV series, Billions, in which Wendy Rhodes states, “Only a fool does not consider the downside, but only a coward allows it to stop him from what he knows must be done”.

I’ve left the above quote showing my recollection. The actual quote is below.

Credit: magicalquote.com

So, what? I hear you say.

“So, bloody what! I have just discovered that I have been a coward my whole life. I’m still a coward and will continue to be a coward until I make a change.”

That was the reactive, defensive response from myself based on the conditioning of my mind.

However, taking a step back, AKA Jocko Willink style, being present in the now and observing my thoughts and feelings about this revelation. And. Yes. I have uncovered a fundamental weakness in my persona, something embarrassing to admit to, something that is going to hold me back if I cannot find a way to resolve it.

But now that I am aware (conscious) of the fact, I can try and find a way to become courageous in the face of fear, and who knows what this could mean.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” — Maya Angelou, American memoirist, poet and civil rights activist.

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