Controlling Fear

Fear - Way of the Warrior KidFear is normal. It is a protective reaction to the unknown and uncertain. It is healthy. Yet, it can also hold us back. Both mentally and often physically it keeps us frozen in place, unable to move … to grow.

"Fear is normal. In fact, fear is good. Fear is what warns you when things are dangerous. Fear is what makes you prepare. Fear keeps us out of a lot of trouble. So there is nothing wrong with fear. But fear can also be overwhelming. It can be unreasonable. It can cause you to freeze up and make bad decisions or hesitate when you need to act. So you have to learn to control fear." - page 153, Way of the Warrior Kid.

Jocko Willink talks about preparation being the first step in controlling your fears, including training, studying, and planning. For me, part of that studying and planning revolves around the analysis of the worst things that could happen. Astronaut Chris Hadfield, in his book he discusses this mental preparation by always looking for “what could kill him next”. Often this alone puts your fears into perspective. What could happen? How would it be handled? and what (if anything) could be done about it? Then, as Jocko says in his book, you just need to “go” – in other words ‘take action’. You can continue or turn back. Enter the ring or leave the arena. This ends up being a choice you make. Control your fear, don’t let it control you!

"Once you go - once you start - you won't be afraid anymore. You overcome the fear by going - and it is the same in many aspects of life. Parachuting. Talking in front of a crowd. Taking a test. Running a race. Competing in jiu-jitsu. The fear is in the waiting. So. Once you have prepared and trained and studied and planned, there is only one thing left to do: go." - page 156, Way of the Warrior Kid.

Lessons from the nighttime family reading session of…
“Way of the Warrior Kid” by Jocko Willink

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