All fear stems from attachment, and all experience comes with a price. When I experience the fear of failure, I ask myself these two questions:

  • What am I attached to that’s causing my fear?
  • Am I willing to pay the price for this experience?

Within me, fear always arises in a haze. It’s never clear with its own thinking. It is a mind of its own, whispering to me to back down from a presented challenge.

There are times when I am resistant to fear, and there are times when I’m not so. My mind has finite strength that fluctuates like rubber.

Logic Places Limitations On My Fear

With enough victories in any one given span of time, my confidence rises. With enough failures, my confidence dwindles.

Each one causes consequences of itself.

My confidence never dwindles to nothing, though. No matter what the circumstances are.

This is because I can always rely on an a priori foundation to stabilize me. There are absolute truths I mentally fall back on to satiate my brain’s need for stability.

For instance,

1. If it is an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, then there is an absolute truth. This is a contradiction. Therefore, there is such a thing as absolute truth.
2. Cogito; ergo, sum. I think; therefore, I am. I exist.
3. I know that I am skillful enough to accomplish x, y, and z pertaining to the challenge that scares me. Therefore, I am not as incompetent as my fear is leading me to believe.

These truths make a finite foundation I use to stabilize my emotions in times of fear. There are more than only these three, but I’m sure you get the point:

When fear contradicts what I know to be true of myself, I am able to put fear in check. Fear is more emotional than logical.

It exists for an evolutionary reason. But, so do other parts of the brain, which I shouldn’t forget to use when fear arises.

What’s also good to note is that following this approach to fear, one cannot be a post-modernist. You can’t be a nihilist who supports the notion of moral relativity.

The reason why is because if there is no absolute truth, then there’s nothing you can be sure of yourself. If there’s nothing you can be sure of yourself, then fear has its doorway through which to overcome you.

Emotions Beget Their Own Consequences

When my confidence falls, I act from a position of negativity. This causes visible negative consequences to occur.

When my confidence rises, I act from a position of positivity. This causes visible positive consequences to occur.

I stress the word “visible,” though. This is because there are actually positive and negative consequences to every action.

Something may seem like a negative outcome to my perception. But, that may knock over positive dominoes of consequence for the future that I can’t see at first.

Those positive consequences may not be in my immediate view.

Thus, I stress the word “visible,” because I’m aware of my own epistemic limitation. The limitation of my own senses.

The ripples of consequence go before and beyond us. The mathematics of chaos theory, the butterfly effect, go beyond our perception.

There are consequences that occurred before our existence. And there are those that we cause that last long after our deaths.

To the ends of time, even. But that is a conversation for another day.

My point is that when I am in a bad state, bad things happen. When I am in a good state, good things happen. This leads me to question the nature of good and bad in my own perception:

  • Either I need to override my own emotions because I’m causing my own misfortunes.
  • Or, I need to understand that neither anything good nor bad is happening to me at any given time, but both.

Therein, the question stops becoming why bad things are happening to me.

The question becomes what my subconscious mind is limiting me to see, and why.

Articulation To Myself Is Key To Mastering My Fear

So, the moment fear arises, I know from foundational a priori that it stems from something that I am attached to.

Thus, all it takes for me to work out my fear is a moment of reflection:

  • What or who am I attached to, and why?
  • When did the fear arise, or what triggered it?
  • Why was it that trigger?
  • What are the action steps I need to take either within or without myself to relinquish my attachment?

Notice the last question: I did not ask what the steps are to overcome my fear.

This is a crucial difference. A critical detail that people miss which inhibits them from mastering their own.

I asked what the action steps are to take for the sake of letting go of my attachment.

And the reason why I ask it this way is because I understand the nature of my own fear. I understand it because of what I can observe about the peculiarity of my own perception.

How Fear Creates Its Own Consequences

If it is one of my foundational a prior that…

Both positive and negative consequences occur with every action.

Then, the right question to ask myself is about my perception. I can deduce that fear is leading me to see the negative, and thus act in a negative manner.

This occurs because of what I am attached to, such as my family.

  • I may feel fear to take on a new and challenging client because if I fail, then it could damage my reputation.
  • If my reputation becomes damaged enough, it’ll be harder to bring in income.
  • If it becomes harder to bring in income, then I cannot provide for my family.
  • If I cannot provide for my family, then my family will suffer.

Seems logical, right? On the surface, sure. But there’s another side to this fearful thought process:

  • If I do not take on a new and challenging client, I won’t grow in skill.
  • If I do not grow in skill, my competitive market will overcome me.
  • If my competitive market overcomes me, I will fail with new clients (or not win any at all).
  • If I fail with new clients (or get none at all), then it could damage my reputation.
  • If my reputation becomes damaged enough, or I fail to get any at all, it’ll be harder to bring in income.
  • If it becomes harder to bring in income, then I cannot provide for my family.
  • If I cannot provide for my family, then my family will suffer.

Both lines of logic are fear-based. Take one, then the other may occur.

No matter what path I take, my family may suffer. I am at the center of the logic. My reasoning derives from my perception, and fear is skewing my perception.

So what’s the solution?

Detaching From Fear

At this point, I know fear is skewing my logic.

Let’s observe another foundational premise that I use to square away my fear:

Suffering is inevitable in life.

So, let’s take this in mind. Even in the best outcome, my family is going to suffer in some way. Even if I have total success, they still arguably suffer in the context of me being away to work for that success, to begin with.

If each line of logic attaches to their suffering, then I am attached to their suffering.

Thus, the way to free myself from my fear to move forward is to detach from their suffering.

It sounds counter-intuitive, right? But this is the nature of how a negative mindset begets negative consequences.

  • If I detach from my fear, I free myself to act from a position devoid of fear.
  • When I act from a position devoid of fear, I am able to do my best work.
  • When I am able to do my best work, I am able to satisfy new and challenging clients.
  • As I satisfy new and challenging clients, I grow in skill and reputation.
  • As I grow in skill and reputation, it becomes easier to bring in income.
  • As it becomes easier to bring in income, my family suffers less.

So the key to mastering my fear of my family’s suffering is to face the inevitability of it happening.

…and then, letting go.

What are your thoughts?