How Fear Influences Our Choices

In my last blog I discussed the power of our choices in empowering our health in the era of COVID 19. I discussed that most of our choices become habits that are programmed in our subconscious mind through reinforcement in the earlier part of our life. I discussed a process to help overcome our negative habits to create positive habits which will support our health and immunity.

Habit is not, however, the only impediment to making the right choices. The other impediment is fear. Fear is so prevalent in our society and is more apparent now that we are in a pandemic. The issue is that the choices that will help to empower our health and other aspects of our lives, usually force us to step outside of our comfort zones. When we step outside of our comfort we will have to confront this fear and one of two things will happen. We will either find the courage to venture outside of our comfort zones and potentially make a breakthrough or we will succumb to the fear and retreat back into safety.

Now, stepping outside our comfort zones is not a guarantee of success, however, one thing is true without any doubt. Our growth and evolution can only occur outside of our comfort zone. For example, in order to date an attractive woman, you must muster up the courage to walk up to her and start talking to her. This often triggers fear of rejection but this is just a psychological fear. There is no real danger to you if you get rejected, just a bruising of your ego. On the other hand, if you take that bold leap to walk up to an attractive stranger and start talking to her, you could potentially get a date with her. However, you will never know unless you take that bold leap.

Fear of rejection is a very prevalent fear in society and is often programmed through early childhood experiences. There are many other fears as well including fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of loss, fear of making the wrong choice but it all comes down to fear of experience. You see, we are here on this earth to experience all that life has to offer. By virtue of the nature of life, not everything that we experience will necessarily be positive as we perceive this concept. However, this is not the point because no matter what we experience, as a result of our choices, even the negative experiences, we will be constantly learning and growing.

In fact, experience is the best teacher as theory is just a concept in our minds which has little relevant meaning until it is proven in the field, which means through experience. In order to experience the beauty and adventure of all that life has to offer, we need to be able to make the difficult choices which will nudge us out of our comfort zones. The question then arises, how do we make these choices, which are often scary to our ego and can easily talk us out of taking those crucial steps.

The way we do this is through context. What do I mean by context? Context means looking at any decision you are facing with its spectrum of possible choices from a broader perspective. Doing this will facilitate you making the choice which will be most likely to lead to your growth and evolution. Let’s demonstrate this through an example and I encourage you to do this process in a journal because this practice will allow you to to see every possible outcome right in front of you.

The first step is to take a decision that you have to make with a spectrum of possible choices. You then right down all the possible choices that you have and their consequences. Using the above example, let’s say you see an attractive woman and want to ask her out. There are two possible choices here which are that you ignore her and pretend you never saw her or you walk up to her and start talking to her with the intention of getting her contact information.

Now, if this is happening in the moment, you don’t want to write down the possible choices and consequences because you could lose the opportunity. You can, however take some quick mental notes. If you walk away from the situation you will not risk rejection and your ego will not be bruised, however, you will also miss the opportunity to potentially get to know her and spark some romantic interest If, however, you walk up to her and start talking to her, you will potentially risk rejection or you could strike up a wonderful conversation leading you to getting to know her her for a future date.

If we look at the consequences of these choices, in the choice of walking away, you have lost nothing and gained nothing. Even though you could get rejected, it is your ego that is generating this fear because it only cares for your security and safety. Rejection, however, will not put you in any danger but just bruise your ego. You have also lost the chance to meet this woman and get to know her. In the choice of walking up to her and talking to her, you could risk rejection but it will be of no consequence, as I have already discussed. You could, however, potentially strike up a wonderful conversation and agree to meet up another time. You will never know this, however, until you step out of your comfort zone to talk to this woman that you have just seen.

This is why we need to put all of our decisions into context by examining all the possible outcomes of our choices and what will be gained or lost. This will help scrutinize our fears and determine if they are truly rational or not. What we will find is that if we stay in our comfort zones, we may feel safe and secure but we lose the opportunity to gain everything by stepping outside of our comfort zones. Now, the ability to step outside of your comfort zone does not always come about through logic and rational thought because of the emotions that are generated.

The question then arises, if you have looked at a decision that you have to make, with all of its spectrum of choices and consequences and are still afraid of taking the step that will lead to your greatest growth and evolution, what can you possibly do about it?

The answer is to not necessarily step outside of your comfort zone but to lean outside of it. For example, instead of talking to the next attractive woman you see, you may start by talking to random strangers who you are not necessarily romantically interested in. You can engage them in small talk about something you observe in your environment, something you observe in them or a common situation you both find yourselves in. One easy way to strike up a conversation with a stranger is to complement them.

This is an example of leaning outside of your comfort zone and, if you take this baby step, your ego will not be as fearful as fully stepping outside of your comfort zone, by approaching a beautiful woman, for example. Leaning outside of your comfort zone is more important now in the era of COVID 19 because the world has fundamentally changed and we will all be forced to find new ways of approaching our health, our relationships, our careers, our finances, our spirituality and our beliefs.

Right now I encourage you to look at an important decision that you are now facing and ask yourself, how can you lean outside of your comfort zone to make the choice which will lead to your greatest growth and evolution. This is more important now than it has ever been in the brave new world we are emerging into.

Nauman Naeem MD


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