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Shifting Your Focus Off of Fear

I’m currently in New York City visiting friends, and soaking up the magic that this city always seems to offer during the holidays. New York is SO full of energy and life, that it can actually be a hit or miss for me.

I remember, one of the first times I came to this city, I spent the entire day terrified that someone was going to pickpocket me. My hands stayed glued to the insides of my pockets, and I maintained an exhausting-but-impressive death grip on my wallet for hours. I don’t even know when I started believing that this petty theft was an inevitability, but I knew with CERTAINTY that it was going to happen. At some point, some person had instilled in me this knowledge that when you go to a big city, you will get robbed.

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I was 12 years old. I think at most there was $20 in my wallet. It’s highly unlikely that someone was going to target my broke ass as I waited in line outside the Radio City Music Hall for the Rockettes show to begin. 

But that didn’t matter. The actual probability was irrelevant.

You see, when a fear is born, it becomes your reality. It doesn’t matter how absurd, or improbable it is.  It doesn’t matter the source. This new fear becomes a very real part of your experience. 

Unfortunately, that means that so many of us are going through life gripping the proverbial wallet, instead of just enjoying the moment. We stay in our head instead of in our heart. We avoid things that we might enjoy, and ultimately find ourselves regretting all those moments we didn’t seize because we were too busy letting fear take the wheel. 

How many times have you avoided something because you were too scared of messing it up? Or of what people would say? 

How many times have you gone through the motions of something, but inside your mind is reeling with all the ways that it might go wrong? 

This is no way to live. 

Life is too short to let our fears do all the decision-making. 

“Fear is just excitement without breath.”

So breathe. Acknowledge your fears as a sign of what’s important to you. Dance with them, dismantle them and realize that most of them are completely illogical. 

Pushing through your fears, and embracing the discomfort that comes with it is like any other muscle. The more you work it, the better you’ll get at it. 

Now, when I visit this city, I spend my efforts looking up at the impressively tall buildings, instead of looking out for people who want to take my money. I use my hands to pet dogs in the park instead of satisfying my need for security. I’m open, instead of closed. I’m present with the possibilities, instead of preoccupied with my anxieties.

How can you shift your focus today from what scares you to what excites you? 

Life is too short to live any other way. 

Hugs & Love,

PS - If you want even MORE tips for avoiding regret, and facing your fears, check out my recent TEDx talk: The Antidote to Regret