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Give fear a name because it’s easier to solve problems than it is to conquer fear

My first book Never Fear Never Quit came out some twenty years ago. It’s out of print today but there are almost always pre-read copies available on Amazon, sometimes for as little as fifty cents. That book is built around twenty principles of courage and perseverance.

Of all the comments I’ve gotten from readers over the years, more have focused on this one principle – give fear a name and turn it into a problem – than the other 19 put together.

Fear is an emotion, courage is a decision.

When you give your fear a name, at a cognitive level you are transferring the locus of mental control from the emotional right side of the brain to the rational decision-making left side of the brain.

If your fear is losing your job (not an unreasonable fear in today’s world), the problem is that you are not indispensable. If you knew that the company would fall apart were you to leave, then you’d not be afraid of losing your job, would you?

Now, no one is indispensable but in any job there are many things you can do that will make you more valuable to your employer. Learning and applying new skills, volunteering for projects above and beyond your job description, being an enthusiastic contributor to a positive culture – all those things make you the sort of person who becomes more indispensable.

And if you do those things and lose the job anyway, you will have increased the chances of finding an even better job even more quickly.

Whatever your fear – running out of money, losing your health, getting rejection letters for the book you have worked so hard to write – turning it into a problem and then working on the problem will help you achieve better results and a greater sense of equanimity.

What fear is keeping you awake at night? What’s the problem underlying that fear? And what can you do to solve the problem?

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