If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles
Fear vs. Excitement
“When you feel fear, you should be excited!”
Ever heard this one before? What does it mean? Let’s break it down.
What is the difference between fear vs excitement? Think about this. I don’t want you to just list times when you are afraid and times when you are excited. This is the first ting people do, but those are just perspectives. You could say when I’m on a roller coaster, that’s excitement! Well if you asked me – A person who doesn’t like roller coasters, I would say that feeling before a roller coaster, that’s fear.
So you get this feeling of excitement while I get this feeling of fear in our roller coaster example. Guess what – They are the same feeling. The only difference is the label. You label that feeling of excitement and a person who has never ridden a roller coaster before would call it fear. So when it comes to the difference between the feeling of fear vs the feeling of excitement, the answer is there is no difference. They are the same feeling. You label that feeling with something positive ‘excitement’ while somebody else will label that same feeling with something negative ‘fear’.
I can already hear you say – But aren’t there times when you are definitely not feeling excited and you are definitely feeling fear? Like what if you are being chased by a bear? Are you really going to tell me that, that is a feeling of excitement?
This is you just labeling things again. Focus on the feeling not the label. Don’t you get the same adrenaline rush when you are on a roller coaster or parachuting? Are you going to tell me your life is not in danger when you are jumping out of a plane 3000 feet in the air? Some people love that stuff, we have label for them too – Thrill seekers.
You can argue that the people who climb huge mountains, go parachuting and do these activities which put their lives on the line just look at this ‘feeling’ differently. Most people look at these activities and just thinking about it makes us feel afraid because we automatically label them as fear. They label it as excitement. And you know what? I would bet if these thrill seekers were chased by a bear and survived they would say “That was AWESOME!”. Because again they get this same feeling as all of us. – They just label as excitement while most label it as fear.
How about pressure? What’s the difference between pressure and fear? If you are about to speak in front of an audience do you feel pressure? Or do you feel fear? Which is it? Again, these are just labels for the same feeling.
This concept is very hard to explain but just bear with me. What is pressure? Why do you feel pressure? You could argue that you feel pressure when you feel like you are in a room full of people who are judging you, it comes from this feeling of I’m being judged. I think this is a fair definition. We have peer pressure, social pressure, etc…
Could you not also argue that the feeling of fear is also due to pressure? You could argue it depends how you look at it. My point here is it depends on how you label the feeling. It’s the same feeling! The only reason why we have these labels for the same emotion is because people have different ways of interpreting emotions. So instead of labeling an emotion as fear, why not just label it as excitement?
How This Helps You
So what’s my point here? My point is all of your anxieties and fears have nothing to do with your inexperience or your inadequacies and everything to do with how you interpret them and how you label them. It’s all in the words you use in your mind to describe how you are feeling at this very moment. So change these labels and you change your perspective. Start searching for the negative labels you put on things and put positive labels on them.
What else is there?
What about depression, sadness and upset?
What about nervousness, stress and excitement?
What about boredom and sadness?
What other labels can you think of which describe the same feeling? How can you change these labels to something more positive? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great day!
In this video Barry Mcdonagh talks about how to flip fear into excitement just by changing the words you use. Similar to what I said, it might help give you some solid steps to overcome your anxious feelings