Decide to fight fear

Photo courtesy of Grant MacDonald (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Grant MacDonald (Creative Commons)

The key to fighting fear is to decide. No matter what you are afraid of, you have choices. You can choose to hide or to act on things. To say yes or no. But the key ingredient is that you have to decide to make one of those choices.

I suppose doing nothing is a decision too, and that choice will never get you past your fear.

In his book, The Way of the Seal, Mark Divine presents the idea of the OODA loop, in which you approach situations with the following in mind:

  • Observe
  • Orient
  • Decide
  • Act

In my mind, the most important piece of that puzzle is the decision, because without that, there is no action.

I have a history of being wishy-washy – I will spend so much time going back and forth – do I do this? – maybe not – maybe I should. On and on. I’ve missed some incredible opportunities because I just couldn’t make up my mind and the time to decide passed.

So my choice was made for me. If no path is chosen, then you are stuck standing still and fear has won.

The “me” of today is more decisive. Instead of agonizing over a choice, I am learning to be quicker at observing and orienting – including asking the appropriate questions to get enough information for an assessment. Then I decide – yes or no, go or stay, do or don’t do. No more maybe!

Learning to say no to some things so I can say yes to better things has been a critical lesson.

I move ahead with things or let them go. It may mean that I don’t go to that event, but I don’t use energy regretting my decision. I get busy doing whatever it was that I wanted to say yes to.

And those things I say yes to? I embrace and enjoy, regardless of any potential down sides. Why waste a moment on regret and negatives?

To give you an example, I planned a long run for last weekend – a half marathon. As it got closer to the weekend, the weather turned cold and windy. But I had made the decision to run and instead of wimping out because of fear or focusing negatively on how cold it was, I simply bundled up. I fought that fear. Instead of wincing when the wind blew, I paid attention to the beautiful fall leaves and the amazing clouds as the sky cleared. I ran my 13.1 miles and then felt incredible when I was finished.

I am glad I didn’t miss that opportunity by waffling on my decision and letting fear win.

How can you employ the OODA loop to fight fear?