Fear of our creative craft? Why?
Fear is normal. It’s also a very misunderstood emotion that has a whole range of nuances, yet we don’t really notice or can clearly pinpoint it as such before we get that…surge. That uncomfortable elevator drop sensation in our stomach that send the heart into our throat and makes it difficult to breathe.
We all know it. Freeze, fight, flight…and hide. Many forget that one.
We’re prone to do one of them, and the rest is depending on the situation that causes the feeling, be it logical or not. Like…pressing the SUBMIT button. We focus on that today, as the topic was prompted by an author in Aspiring Writers United on Facebook.
Why do we feel fear of a button?
On the other end of what happens once we click that button is the unknown. There will be reactions from other people—reactions we can’t predict. We’re a social being, and our pack/tribe/society is part of our survival mechanism, thus hardwired into our instinct. It’s how fashion changes and can make a lot of money. Our need to fit in with others is, at its very primal core, what allows us the numbers and care from others to help us survive when a cave bear attacks.
You’re stepping into something new. Alone. You’re facing a bunch of new people with something new in your hand. How will they react?
The fact that the news plays on the exact same aspects that made the Colosseum of ancient Rome so interesting to this day indicates that certain aspects of human nature never change. Sex, violence, and power are among the top, and all cater to our survival as a group. Right up there is our brains default of painting devils on walls and focus on negativity and threats and dangers, whether real or imaginative. It’s how we survive as individuals. It’s part of what keeps us alert and ready to fight, flee, or freeze. Or hide in the group by not calling attention upon ourselves for sticking out.
That's all very normal. It's all part of a finetuned set of primal instincts.
We feel fear because we're venturing into something new, unknown, and our primal brain doesn't like that. It prefers its safe little comfort zone.
Sports psychiatrist Steve Peters wrote a book called “The Chimp Paradox”, where he delves into this. He explains it by dividing our brains into three parts. A chimp brain (most primal and emotionally driven part), the human brain (our rational selves), and the computer brain (the part that handles everything and runs the automated side of us).
The good news is that our human brain deals way better with it than our primal one. Dr. Peters says that there's only one way to talk to that brain, and that's through reasoning with it. It can calm it a bit, but it will still fire on all cylinders—just not in the red field.
How do I train my chimp brain?
Stepping outside our comfort zone—especially one that revolves around our dream—takes a lot. We have to grow to do that, and growth pains belong here, too.
Stepping outside our comfort zone is something we constantly have to actively work with and on to grow. It's a set of tools we get better at working with through practice. If we don't, we stagnate. We end up in that dead-water state where we merely wish and hope for our dream to become real, and we procrastinate, wait until Monday, or until inspiration or motivation comes to us.
That’s not how it works. You go get it! Chase it down!
It takes a lifetime.
Good! Keep reading.
We’re afraid when we don’t know how. Because we don’t know where to find it. Because we don’t know what we’ll meet when we go chase down our dream.
Look at it differently.
The “self-help” market is one of the biggest, which should say something about the need because no market exists without a need for it. The bigger it is, the bigger the need for something it provides is.
But that luckily doesn’t mean you have to buy every book out there. Before you go there, you need to do the legwork. It’s free. Not easy, but it’s free. You sit down with yourself and a cup of whatever you like. And then you ask yourself that big question. What do you want your legacy to be? Skip all the frightening steps to get you there, that comes later. Just…revel in having obtained it.
No, this isn’t some visualize, and thou shall receive bullshit. It’s simply so that you get a clear idea of what you want.
After that, picture the opposite. Picture what you don’t want.
Knowing what we want is as important as knowing what we don’t want.
Here, fear is needed. Here, fear is your friend. Here, fear becomes a tool you can use to help you navigate once you open your eyes again and have to do the work on the next step. How to get to one place and not the other. Knowing fear will help you find motivation.
Tools to work with fear
Martin! I’m definitely not ready for this shit!
I hear ya’.
Stepping outside our comfort zone doesn’t have to be base jumping to face our fear of heights. Get up on a chair. Step down. Get up again. Step down. When you have enough wins under your belt to have appeased the chimp brain that the height of the chair didn’t kill us, get up on a table. Step down. Get up again. Step down.
I’m currently doing this because I’ve always feared the spotlight. I can write anything fiction and send it out there because my chimp brain sees that as well within his comfort zone after 20 years of doing that but writing this blog post is actually still just outside my comfort zone. It’s part of my “chair”. So’s my new YouTube channel where I put all these mental tools to the test to prove that they work! That we can overcome our fears and expand our comfort zone if only we work on toeing that line. A book that really changed my view on it is Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk and I highly recommend it to anyone facing fear regarding sharing themselves online, be it a selfie, a YouTube video, a book, whatever.
Join my challenge to slowly and comfortably train your chimp by scheduling small stuff that takes you to the brink of your comfort zone. It'll teach the primal brain to not freak the F*** out every time as it, too, gets used to stuff really not trying to kill you on the other side of that line.
I'd love to hear about your challenges, so please comment with it or send me an email on contact AT martinsvolgart.com. And share this post with someone you can hopefully bond with to challenge and be challenged by so that you may both grow. Together. To make the Chimp brain happy that it has a friend.
Suggested reading on this blog:
Suggested books on the topic:
The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steven Peters
How to Think Bigger by Martin Meadows (As of writing, free on Amazon)