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.

Skills, Structures and Habits

One of the trending ideals in this extreme liberal ideology era is to “find yourself.” While I’m not going to discredit being unique, there is a study that it’s rarely because you’re born as one.

It’s not bad at all to make yourself to be one, that is of course one of the highest aspirations worth pursuing. The greatest threat to that goal is to consider yourself one while half-baked. Just because all baked breads are golden on top and you’re not doesn’t require acknowledgement. Do not flaunt a point wherein everybody passed to but never stopped to bask in.

Stagnation in this life is a weakness.

A great heartbreak in this age of technology is not not knowing how, but being mediocre on skills you’re interested on that some have mastered. Being highly skilled becomes a puzzle in which when people couldn’t figure out how, they excuse it as talent for birth to adulthood. While talent does boost interest, it is practice that makes the expert.

If you’re wondering why you’re not up there, maybe you’re stayed too long in being just good. Comfort after all is the greatest enemy of mastery and the highway to comfort is removing structure and taking pleasure everything you desire as possible.

The excuse of “This is me” is the common mistake against growth and expertise. No one likes to hear that excuse in any context. If you want it, you will strive for it. If you see it as important, you will integrate it into you’re life.

This is why habits are key and necessary. It’s easy to indulge yourself, it’s our instinct to do so. Waking up and opening Facebook or Instagram is being done by millions of individuals with a smartphone. What’s not natural is to go against your urges and fulfill goals first.

What Goals?

Well there should be small and big ones. Small ones entail improving discipline with tasks that could be done in a few minutes such as fixing the bed, drinking vitamins and being thankful. And big ones are most probably composed of stepping stones for your dreams or skills that could stretch for months and even years. While the big ones are what’s going to determine your future, the small ones are what’s going to make you achieve it. Never discredit one over the other.

The habitual goals can be something you enjoy but must always benefit you with repeated performance. Eating ice cream for dinner every week is a bad example for one. Studying experts and asking mentors is one of the best ways to go about it, remember it’s not what the champion does in the ring that makes him win, it’s the things he did before entering that determines it. Appreciate the process more than the result.

What’s your Priority?

“I will restart my¬† podcast today.” is what I told myself 5 days ago. I still haven’t published one even up to this day.

It’s never about what you wanted, but how much you wanted it. It’s never enough to have a dream, an idea or a goal. It’s a matter of your discipline and progress on how you’re achieving it, and getting closer into accomplishing your vision.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. -Friedrich Nietzsch

A lot of people have ideas, great ideas, ideas that made people into billionaires and successful individuals to the general public. A lot of those ideas have also crossed the mind of different people, the notion of “I thought of that too.” is not an uncommon claim, what’s uncommon is the hard work, courage and focus placed into a concept that makes it work and unique.

I’ve promised myself a lot of things this year: A running podcast, a weekly 360 words blog and a 6 digit savings in my bank. It’s almost half of the year and I haven’t achieved or handled a good habit matching those three. Do they sound good? Yes. Do I want them? Yes. Do I enjoy the process of achieving them? Maybe. But most of the time, as much as I say they are my priority, my time goes elsewhere. After work, I take time to play a video game first and using my leftover minutes to improve my progress on them, is leftover time enough? Absolutely not.

Did I ever think gaming is my priority? Nope. But do my action say otherwise? Yes.

Follow your breadcrumbs, words are not enough, intention is not enough. What’s most important is your action and how you advance. If you can’t manage a ten, give yourself a one and a pat on the shoulder. Something is better than nothing. I don’t intend to stay this unproductive but without pro-active effort, I’d be burried this way. Ask yourself how much you want it, if it’s not enough to sacrifice your pleasures, don’t lie to yourself. They are not your priority.

 

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?