Imagined Fears

What’s your biggest fear?

Me, Afraid?

Change and untrained imaginations  create fears.

Besides the fear of change, our most common fear is  that we won’t get something we want or that we’ll lose something we already have. Things we fear get our attention first, so those untrained in how to handle fears drive themselves crazy or worry themselves sick.

Since our brains’ chief job is to protect us from harm, and since change involves the unknown, which may be harmful, it makes sense that untrained brains are preoccupied with anything unknown that is possibly harmful.  Back in the day, cavemen were preoccupied with staying safe from dinosaurs and the like. More recently, American settlers were concerned with being safe from each other, wild animals and hostile Indians.

Today’s Reality

Today’s threats aren’t so much from people or dinosaurs, but from the hassles and pressures of everyday living. The biggest fear I had upon being released from Harborview Hospital, before years of speech therapy radically improved how efficiently I communicated.


Even though my paralyzed leg and arm are what prevented me from going back to work and earning a living and doing the things I enjoyed and had come to take for granted, my fear of how other people might react to me dominated my thoughts.  I sometimes wish I’d been able to eliminate these fears with a pill. However, back in 1980, when I crashed, pills weren’t prescribed as often as they are now. Today pharmaceutical companies  are selling millions of dollars worth of anti depressants and anti anxiety medications that help folks with fears and other negative feelings.

Skillful Fear

Letting fear run away with our imaginations is a sure way to develop self destructive worry habits. The good news I found in the months and then years following my crash is that there are tools I can use to beat the worry habit. Since worrying begins in our brains, we can use our brains to either eliminate it or make it productive. Unskillful worry destroys the worrier. Learning worry skills changes destructive worry to constructive.

Since my fears and my Attitudes are a result of my perceptions, choosing to learn positive ways to interpret what I perceive, by reading topic specific books or getting healthy Attitude input in ways I explain in my keynotes and other posts, lessens my fears by developing my adaptability.

My Overcoming Depression post explains the tip of the iceberg of how I created a positive Attitude and eliminated destructive self pity and depression.

To hire humorous, informative, entertaining and inspiring speaker Al Foxx, fill out our quick contact questionnaire. He’ll customize any of these  topics for your event. His book No Limits can be obtained separately or  in bulk as part of a package deal.

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2 Responses to Imagined Fears

  1. Katherine Peil June 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Well put Al! As usual, you exhibit high emotional intelligence. Hard-won to be sure, but the best wisdom is, right?  One thing I would add, however, is that there are many human conventions, unjust socio-economic structures, and rigidly hierarchical institutions that are indeed threatening to human survival and are bio physically self-destructive on both individual and social levels. Indeed, this is the kind of ongoing distress that compromises the immune system, and our task as humans – after adapting our minds as you suggest – is also to export the creative solutions to human problems we come up with and leave behind a better world. Anger is the feeling that drives this, but only when it is elicited by genuinely universal obstacles in the immediate environment not narrowly defined self-centered interest based in us-versus-them ideologies. Keep up the good work my fine, wise, and spiritually well-endowed friend! Hugs from Harvard!

  2. Anonymous June 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    I love the depth and the clarity of your observations. The deepest wisdom is that which is hard won to be sure. But that aside, my  currant idea is that in order to be called true wisdom it must be beneficial to others. If an idea benefits only the one who came up with it than I think it is more likely to fall into the cunning category. The reason I think this is because we are all on the same team as inhabitants of planet Earth. And so I think that what benefits someone else, a teammate, is bound to benefit the benefactor.
    However, lacking both your education and your undamaged thinking apparatus, I am completely open to your ideas.
    Grasshopper Al

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