The Cure to Fear

When we hear the word fear, most of the time it may trigger the idea of speaking to a crowd, being one step away from the edge of a cliff or being chased by someone with malicious intent. While those are things that do inflict fear, they are the type of fear that happens a few times in a lifetime. Meanwhile, I’d like to address the ones that haunt us consistently throughout our lives.

There is a fear we rarely address, the ones we are gotten so used to, we frame it as if it’s because of our inability to focus. While seeking escape might be the end result, the ones that trigger procrastination just might be fear of subduing what seems to be daunting task.

Procrastination.

There’s lots of cases wherein we don’t finish a job not because we can’t but because we dread what comes in doing it and after it.

It comes to no surprise that I am a victim of this paralyzing emotion. Examples in my situation are:

  • Talk to a client with a bad temper
  • Finding more bugs on the code
  • Innovating an application
  • Tampering with money for payments

Some can definitely be accomplished, some even in the span of 5 minutes or less if given enough attention. The capability to solve it is present and lingering, what’s not is the courage to do so and accomplish it till the end. So, how can we cure this inability? The paralyzing fear of the unknown?

Act.

There’s no better way to overcome fear than doing something about it. A lot of people fail because of too much thinking how to not fail. The best way to solve a task when you have no idea how to, is to do it, or in a more Millenial term: Google for it.

The mind is like a puppy training for tricks. Don’t expect it to be as driven or wise as you think. Just because it thinks something is important doesn’t mean it will do it. All it knows is how to stay happy, entertained and comfortable. Heck you can even expect it to forget what it doesn’t find important but others do. (That’s the worst) 

So, this is definitely why you have to learn to tame that cute thing. While it might bring you so much joy and good times, it’s only for the temporary and present. You have the capacity to do what you can think of if you act on it. The greatest difference between the genius and the successful is not what they’ve thought about, but how they fulfilled their plans in making it come true.

The root of being able to act against your interest depends on these two factors:

Triggers

Don’t expect your body to just move just because it should do so, especially if you’re not interested in the task at hand like a chore or work. You can on the other hand, expect it to be delayed till kingdom come and shit is about to go down.

So give yourself a trigger that will ignite your brain. You’d be surprised to find that just like a command that signals the puppy that to do what, the mind also works the same way. You already have the gasoline, all you need is a spark. Everyone has a different trigger that’s most effective for them. No one solution for all. As for me, setting up alarms and writing them down on a list works best.

There are a lot of ways to do this, but this is what works for me and I hope it becomes a starting template for you to create something efficient in your productivity:

  • Separate different aspects of your life: For now I only have 2 lists: Personal and Work
  • Be sure to bullet form an actionable step not a category of a job
  • Don’t list down an item such a “Create a Website” which seems like a daunting task with subtasks waiting. Instead write “Create Design Proposals.” which is immediately actionable and achievable fast without being too easy. 
  • Make a balance between things you can schedule and items you can do indefinitely. Don’t be too obsessed with format, have the right balance for what’s just needed. Focus on being informed and now how to be informed

While I hate being swarmed with items on lists, I love seeing them clear up. That’s the trigger I work with. I make sure to keep the list very visible in my life, and have atleast 3 scheduled within the day. This way, I’m always asking myself to keep working, way beyond just brain power. Something concrete rather than just my thoughts is a stronger motivator.

Reward

While not failing seems like a good reward, it isn’t. The clear reason behind this is not seeing the lack of success as a failure. In matters that you find trivial you won’t seek a reward at all, instead you seek where a bad performance gets least penalty. Don’t see lukewarm as a neutral identity, neutrality is a failure to move towards progress.

In my story, I believe my reward is clear, I love keeping my list to a minimum. The act of deleting or completing an item on my list is one of the most satisfying acts I look forward to, and to see my list at the end of day to a manageable size helps me sleep soundly at night.

What I’ve written here is not an end-all, it is only a thought or a bridge to get you from where you are to somewhere. Each of us has different seasons and different tastes to keep us motivated. Never stop trying and experimenting to understand yourself. Because in the end, we never die the same way we’re born or when we passed through puberty or our first heartbreak.

We do exceptionally greater things when we respect our fears and it respects us back. Our legacy is not defined about what we’ve avoided but what we’ve done and overcome. Take courage, act.

Learning How to Forgive

You see, this picture of the board which I haven’t touched for a year now had memory markings on it. Marks of the childish personality, love for fun, stupidity and random ideas of whose I used to love. Now, as I work in this spot once more, I have stripped this board with all the lines it holds just because some of it make me remember being betrayed.

You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.

– Desmond Tutu

It’s been a roller coaster ride for months now, for those that are wondering and haven’t caught up, I was just going through a break up. Although I wasn’t in full agreement to go our separate ways as I am a firm believer of adapting to circumstances and compromising with your partner, the opposite party was adamant it had to be done. So, I complied with some hesitation. It was fine, I really accepted there was a loss of spell in that period, it was dry and surviving. I would’ve been happy till the clues piled up and data points and blatantly spelled a different reason.

But enough about that, all you have to know at this point is it hurts to give everything to someone only to be replaced like trash. I’ve been betrayed by a friend, disappointed by my family but I’ve never felt more hurt to be given future to look forward to only for it to disappear not because the spark was gone, but the spark was given to someone else.

These days have been a struggle, I’m seeing that the 3 years I was given wasn’t all romantic, driven and pursuant as I have thought it was. It was seductive, complacent and striving. There was a disconnect on words vs. actions. It’s not how it started that matters, but how it ended.

To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.

However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator.

-Desmond Tutu on Forgiveness

I’ve been told that signs of being unfaithful are: you should be able to break up without remorse, you should have recovered fast from a breakup without a timespan to mourn, you would be happy immediately and of course, have someone right away. All these straight from the horse’s mouth.

I’m still not over it, It’s been months and I still have fits for anger, “what ifs” and low moments randomly, but if you look at the other party, it took less than a week to be better than ever. Suspicious? Yes. I was bitter that I couldn’t be better. It’s been months and I would still be mad that of all the things I gave, it wasn’t enough. It was ruining me and everyone around me because of my mood swings.

I’d always say that “I’ve forgiven”, but I’d still be furious when triggered about our story. “I’ve forgiven” but I wish he’d be hit by a car and most of all “I’ve forgiven” but the physical tokens left on my life still crushes me to this point.

In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face the pain. You simply have to hurt.

-Joe as Quoted by Brené Brown

Maybe I’m still in denial we’re over, that all of the things I gave: time, money and effort have gone to a complete stranger from hereon out. I’m trickling all the pain down, taking each drop of poison as a bitter sting to my soul and senses. I wanted the past to live, the good version of our story but I guess not anymore, I’m facing the fire, I’m letting who we were die today. I’m choosing to be hurt that it did happen, this is what has become and I accept that not all people who seem good are good.

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.

-Zig Ziglar

Breakups will heighten your emotions. And emotions is going to turn your world upside down, you will always seem to be moving but most of the time not in the direction you desire, not in the direction of healing most of all. Being emotional takes more effort to move in the right direction, it always takes active participation to get into a destination you wish, which is being better. This time, with this posting, I make that decision, I will strive to be better.

I’ve never promised an answer on how to forgive, but I hope by staying with me you learned how. Although, from how understood it’s never instant, it’s a process but going through it makes you see that the wound wasn’t that big and hurts can be treated with the right care. The most painful part of it is the denial of reality, that the bad didn’t happen, it was a mistake and everything was supposed to be good.

Shit happened because of their selfishness, let’s get over it.

Forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act, its a process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.

-Brené Brown

If you’re hurting or betrayed, it’s not easy to let go but do let go. It’s gripping on a mirror of truth and hoping that they’d see reality with their backs turned against us. They won’t, not at this time and not while we’re shoving it to them. Their truth is how they perceive it and what benefits them. People don’t like stories that paints them on the bad light no matter how factual it is. On the other hand, there’s no better time to work on what we can control, it’s time to let go. We need that reflection as much as they don’t want it. Let the mirror turn and face us: remind us of what we have, what we are and what is because not all is lost. Forgiveness after all, does not avoid pain but acknowledges hurt and choosing to move on with the experience to be part of our history.

Motivation: It’s not what you think it is

Just like the misunderstood “inspiration” and “passion”, motivation has been an overused excuse as part of the waiting game before productivity.

But here’s the thing: It doesn’t come by out of the blue. It’s not an asteroid that’s just going to hit you and you’re going to suddenly become bursting with energy. Motivation is something you work with, it’s a momentum and you need to fight the inertia first to find it.

This post was inspired by the book “The Motivation Myth” by Jeff Haden

We all think motivation is what gets us from 0 to 1, but it’s not. Depending on your environment you’re looking to be productive at, the results will differ: If you’re looking to work on a conference full of people with same interest as you, that’s definitely fodder for your inspiration, passion and motivation. You can work then and there as a huge ignition for whatever you desire and set on a momentum forward but let’s face it, rarely is there a time where you work in a conference because you’re definitely there to listen or network rather than to make something. On the other hand, if you’re in a spot that your body is familiar to be slouching off, you will never get that boost. Your comfort zone will keep dragging you backwards to the good things in life like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

So where do you get it?

From progress. Progress that let’s you reach milestones, milestones that gives you a sense of achievement, and achievement that makes you feel great. Motivation is a wheel, and you need to roll it first before anything happens, but when you do, it gets moving for a while. It’s not an infinite source, or a wildfire, it’s an empty battery you charge, use and charge once again.

So, how do I become motivated?

Do.

Everything is a hindrance in this world from making you want to do what matters to you: the wifi, the refrigerator, your phone, your imagination, your worries, your dog, you right hand and etc. What separates you from being able to achieve what you want is to go full “fuck it” and do it. Use the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins and count backwards from 5 and as soon as you reach 1, just do what you sought out to do. Don’t think about the consequences anymore, the effort or the time, if it’s something you came this far to perform it must be something worth doing and by worth doing I mean if you don’t do it you’re going to be left with a big “What if”

Don’t live a life of “What ifs”, live a lot of “Why didn’t I”, learn and lessen your “Whys” instead.

Life will not serve you matters on a platter, rarely does it happen. If you’re reading this, it must be because you’re not one of those picked by chances. Less passivity and more activity, less begging more grabbing opportunities. Your life is yours, don’t let trendy words and sweet notions make you perform any less. Hard work, discipline and grit has always been present in the stories successful people. Your goals, dreams and focus is yours not life’s. If you’re going to own it, you better do something about it. Great people don’t wait for opportunities, they make it.

So, when was the last time you were motivated?

 

Empathy is a Skill not a Talent

I was once talking with a friend about a conflict, for awhile, he was very empathic and at the same time inquisitive. After discussing much and entering into delicate matters he touched on a subject I was not very comfortable on and asked why he seemed very interested. After clarifying his stance, he sensed an underlying tone about the question and proceeded to apologize.

I don’t want this to turn into a misunderstanding between us. I overstepped and I’m sorry.

That was the exact phrase that melted my guard. No matter how much fumes I was exhuming, there was no way to go on the offense with someone that can bow down to an argument that well. I stepped back, reviewed the whole thing and understood his motives, it was clearer he was not against me but for me.

People with empathy are worth keeping

Because they know what to do when they have wronged you in whichever part of the process it may be. It helps you both grow as they admit fault, you see yours as well and you learn from it even in silence or space. Saying sorry is a skill that doesn’t lower your stance, value, honor or dignity but something that conveys the message that this relationship holds more value than my individuality. Of course, this has done be done in a transparent execution rather than offensive or defensive. It does wonders and rather than arguing why I’m right or why you’re wrong, it brings more amicable resolution between both parties because there’s a clear line between personal attack and personal improvement.

Proud people will put the blame on you

No matter if their actions were the cause of the problem, they would see your confrontation as the cause, and the conflict as the effect. When their happiness is far more important than your relationship, you know which category to place them on. Happiness should be shared in the context of a relationship, not kept for one. When someone chases for happiness on the expense of others, it is the formula for a lot of problems. You will spiral down to a loss of yourself in a life full of conflict.

So, pay attention of what has been done if it is a response or a decision. If it is caused by human intention for themselves, it is a decision, if you were affected by the action it is a response. Response are worth discussing because there’s a trigger than can be either improved or avoided. Working towards a common goal has always been one of the greatest achievement factor of humanity. It can be done when people agree on striving for the same goal.

People that sees change as an offensive process are left behind in maturity. While there can be charming attributes that goes with the lack of it, there are worse for ones when you find it necessary. You can choose to stay and guide them, some will bloom with gratitude, some wouldn’t. It’s your risk, sometimes the soil they have to grow on is not on your life, if so set them free. Easier said than done but they have to grow.

Empathy is not something that’s bestowed by birth, or found in genes. It is a skill that can be learned, you only have to see the world through the eyes of the other person. It’s not always easy but it’s always achievable to those who seek out to be one. Rely less on emotions, assess the argument with a sound mind and understand what the other person is going through. If it is irrational, just calm them down based on their fears. If it is with a point, affirm, apologize and proceed to discuss with pursuing resolution to solve it.

To empathize is not just to understand the effect but to find out the cause and provide a solution. It’s to find the root and make things right.

Like every skill, it’s not a supernatural blessing that you have to wait to be bestowed. It gets better with practice and preparation. The best execution is when you’re prepared for the inevitable and confrontations in life will always happen. Make the right mindset, choose to be humble.

Grow and be better each passing day.