Monday, June 29, 2009

learning as the antidote to fear

My friend sent me an article recently called "What You Can Learn When You Stop Fearing Change" and I found it really insightful. The author, Kristyn Kusek Lewis, spoke with life coach Gail Blanke, author of Throw Out Fifty Things (which I haven't read yet), who believes it's not when we are being high achievers that we learn about ourselves, but rather that "it's the in-between, uncertain times, the moments when you're tempted to just pull the covers over your head, that can teach you the most about yourself and help you grow — if you let them."

She then goes on to outline scenarios in which fear could cripple you, or, conversely, stretch and grow you to new and greater places. From those, I'll share two. (For the rest, follow the link and read the whole article.)

When you hit a new milestone or undergo an identity change, Lewis (with Blanke) argues that "[o]ne way to turn an identity crisis into an exciting metamorphosis is to develop a student mentality — meaning, take time to notice what you're learning about yourself in your new life. Ask, What am I discovering about myself now that I never would have otherwise?"

Similarly, if you are affected by all the negative media available to us these days, Lewis encourages you to filter what comes into your life. "[That] doesn't mean that you stick your head in the sand — obviously, it's important to stay informed — but that you keep a watchful eye on the kind of information you feed your mind. Do you fixate on negative stories? Do your conversations run pessimistic? If you tend to concentrate on the negative, see if you can pare down your daily doom-and-gloom intake... so that you can open yourself up to more hope and optimism."

It boils down to taking care of yourself and not dwelling on the negative.

And I'm all for it!

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