by Neil Perkins
Fear is an emotion that will result in one of three primal responses – Fight, flight or freeze. The fear we get from been involved with a conflict situation (a fight) will evoke the same neurological response that the fear we will face if we may have a redundancy at work – neurologically they are the same. Fear causes the release of adrenaline for a neurological super response of fight, flight or freeze. Think back to the days of the caveman, he was out foraging for berries in the bush and Sabre Tooth Tiger comes out to eat him. His body goes into fear mode, it secretes insulin and for the fight, flight or freeze response – he may choose to fight the sabre tooth, he may chose to run from the sabre tooth or he will freeze in the occasion and become the fourth ‘F’ (F****d).
For those of you ever involved in a car accident or conflict situation, you’ll recall the aftermath of shaking legs and trembling? I still recall a fight I had with someone (non-boxing) coming back to find I’d secreted (back end) in my previously glowing white Calvin Klein boxer shorts – your body does strange things under pressure. These are involuntary actions and primal – neurologically we are all the same.
Fear isn’t nice and the power of your mind can make the outcome far worse than the reality of the outcome. I recall fear once been described as
‘The minds chaotic projection of future events’
I recall a punch that pushed my bottom teeth through my lip in a spar resulting in 6 stitches, I can say that it didn’t hurt at all – my fear of needles and lying on a bed facing a doctor stitching me up, was a little more daunting. The fear of this would have been far worse than the outcome.
The words ‘comfort zone’ and are thrown around a lot, but this is true of fear. I was exceptionally scared of two things – aeroplanes and needles. I say two, I have been forced to overcome my fear of needles through rational thinking and routine jabs and occasional stitching has helped. I couldn’t run or freeze from needles, I would have to face them. Aeroplanes I have got far better at. I have contemplated doing a parachute jump, but my rational head says why would I need to? I can avoid that fear, who knows one day maybe?
There are three things you should do when faced with fear.
1. Think/ Strategy
Strategy is key to get you out of your situation. Here mentoring or coaching is key, I refer to ‘experience in the trenches’ get someone who has faced the same battle you face, they’ve experienced your obstacles and overcome them. There is a person that is better than someone who has faced their own fear – that is someone who specialises in getting others to overcome their fear and achieve.
2. Take Action
This must be complied with strategy. Take one step forward and take action. The reason why your ‘primal fight’ needs to be controlled can be explained by the caveman. He may be aware that he can’t run from the sabre tooth, so fight is his only choice. He needs to take action, but with strategy. He doesn’t fight the Sabre tooth with his bare hands? He pulls out his knife, picks up a stick and arms himself for battle – the strategy is slightly different because he rationalised his fear and thought about his foe.
3. Evaluate. Learn Your Lessons – you never lose, you only learn
Bankrupcy, a defeat in a boxing ring or not loosing as much weight on a body transformation might seem like the end of the world – all are can be overcome. Celebrate your losses, learn from them, dust yourself off and go again. The more battles you face, the more you learn and who knows one day you can be the coach who helps devise a strategy for other people’s success. Never enjoy ‘losing’, never role over and don’t let things trample on you – celebrate your losses and love your wins, they all form and enrich you.
I hear the words ‘comfort zone’ thrown around a lot in the fitness industry, the biggest muscle a gym should work is your mind. Exercise should transform the way you look, make you achieve things you didn’t think possible and push your comfort zone. This may be for health benefits, but these are related to how you feel. Set yourself realistic targets in the gym, push your boundaries and celebrate your losses and love your wins. Learn to go into battles, face them and overcome them. If you don’t get the desired results then take a step back, evaluate and go again – you never lose, you only learn. Remember, fear gets bigger if you run away from it, but gets smaller if you run towards it.