How Fear is Sucking your Life Dry and Robbing you From Your Potential

Fear can be so bitter. It feels like a giant noose tightly wrapped around your neck that is choking you. It keeps blinding you not letting any bubbles out.

However, the interesting thing is that no one is actually choking us. 

Yes, we’re strangling ourselves and we don’t even seem to realize it. And if we do we’re too afraid to confront that fact.

We let fear get the best of us in almost every situation.

The vast majority of us are not in wars. We’re not dodging bullets daily and constantly fearing for our lives. We don’t live in the jungle or in war zones like Syria, Iraq and Venezuela.

Those people are very fearful, and no one can blame them. 

One careless mistake or not being vigilant and they could be dead or have their families wiped out.

The threat of terrorism is ever looming. Manchester bombings in the UK, the 9/11 World Trade Center fiasco in the US still scars many. 

Public shootings such as the 2019 Srilankan church bombings, brutal mosque attack in Christchurch New Zealand cuts to the core and these atrocities are all terrible!

The mistake though is that we associate these fears to the rest of our lives. We don’t feel like working out. We have technology, luxury and comfort to take all our worries away (temporarily at least). Platforms are at our fingertips to binge on that are unlawfully good at addicting us.

Life just seems so nice and easy.

When it’s time to make any jump and wholeheartedly try do anything that requires effort, we hesitate. We stammer.

We quit and very often don’t even try.

Like the experiment by renowned psychologist Martin Seligman where dogs were shocked in a cage to the extent they didn’t want to jump out even if it was wide open, we get burnt out.

We constantly see others do and achieve the things we're afraid of, thought of before. We know we can and should be doing of and still think it isn’t for us.

Instead we think that we’re not good enough, we’re not deserving.

In a time, where there so many freaking amazing free resources out there, we still come up with world-class excuses. 

You tell me how rational is that? Tell me it’s not your problem? Tell me it’s not self-imposed!

In the case of violence, it keeps us alive. And that’s a good thing. But in every other circumstance, it strangles your potential.

So this begs the question:

How does fear hold us back?

Let’s dive even deeper

Conditioning of the media

The news is available to us at the push of a button, a notification or your thumb-scroll. We want it as soon as it comes out and don’t have to wait anymore.

The news is like a drug rush. A sniff of cocaine we just cannot live without. 

Even the negative stories, which is mostly reported because it gets your attention, feels exciting. The bad thing here is that it trains us to think poorly of ourselves. We begin to believe everything we do or will do is wrong. 

I cannot do anything well because this celebrity and my friend does it so well in my Instagram and Facebook feed. I should not bother trying.

This is subtle, I Know. Some of may even be tempted to disagree. But let me ask you look at your own life. Is there something big you’re putting off right now, you totally can but just too afraid to do?

Then ask, why.

Lack of Focus

The terrible junk food that decorates supermarket aisles and kitchen cupboards.

The instant gratification of social media and binge apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video (this may even anger some) to dating apps like Tinder and Christian Mingle that make hookups and casual sex a text and phone call away. 

We don’t have to wait for anything and if so, just switch service providers. When we do sit down to focus, it feels impossible. Like we’re being pricked all over.

But it is this concentration we need to get anywhere in life.

Not only that but we want to be able to deliver average results, yet still believe we deserve a job. Those with jobs think they deserve more money, some even six-figure salaries.

But the real question employers like myself ask is what do you really bring to the table?

You need skills to live and you’ll get replaced by someone that’ll do the job cheaper, better or even by a machine.

Quit the justifying. It doesn’t matter what the opinions of technologists, politicians and gurus are, artificially intelligent machines will replace your job. And that’s already happening lightning fast. 

Look in Japan where machines replace waiters at restaurants, most first world countries are quickly replacing bank tellers will self-serving kiosks or online apps that provide personalized expert recommendations.

Almost every profession that involves manual labor is on the hook and in the US 60% of current jobs are forecasted to be replaced by 2030.

Your skillset simply matters way more that the number of hours you’re willing to put in. To get reasonably good at anything you must focus on command. I don’t think you need more convincing.

Do you feel lost, fed up and afraid you will never achieve your biggest dreams in life no matter how hard you try?

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Conditioning of negative people

Such harsh circumstances and a lack of awareness causes many people to be bitter about lives. The shortcomings, stress and failed dreams is just too much to take in.

Suicide rates around the world is high and the disparity between the rich and middle-class is growing wider by the year. 

This is a big reason most people love the escape.

They live for weekends and anything that feels so damn good in the moment.

Hey, I’ll be the first to admit we all like to indulge sometimes. But are you doing it to cover something else up?

Sadly, you even see this with parents in how they raise and treat their kids. Bitter, physically and verbally snapping at the slight misdoing of their children.

Am I making you feel uncomfortable? It may not be you, but I know you’ve seen this. And I’m not beating on parents though because it is not always their fault.

Women (and sometimes men too) who lash out at their spouses just because they feel like it. Employees who underpay, blatantly mistreat and disrespect their employees just because they know they can replace them easily.  

Most people are chronically stressed out and it really holds you back.

It impedes you from doing and being your best because you’re focused on all this other stuff and often don’t even realize it. It can even be repressed childhood trauma.

When you’re doing well and striving, all the gossip, hate and complaining is like junk food.

Conditioning of broke people

Money doesn’t grow on trees. A penny saved is a penny earned. Save your way to success. Go to college, get a real education and you’ll be successful.

These are sayings we’ve all heard and a lot of us still use today. The point is they are not true.  Far from it. I’ll delve deeper into this in another article. 

The point is we’ve all been financially misinformed. And if you doubt me not to knock on teachers (I was one myself) but most of them and college professors who teach make or have very little money.

The average individual in the US makes under $50,000 per year. 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. 63% of individuals have only $500 in savings to cover an emergency. Financial illiteracy and misinformation is everywhere. 

And parents and teachers can only teach what they know. That is not to look down on anyone, but the point is to mirror the truth in your face.

I know this sounds harsh and may even piss some of you off. I love my parents and teachers too and please don’t feel bitter and resentful towards them.

It’s not their fault. Just be thankful you now know better.

Imposture Syndrome

This is linked to some of the others but still deserves its own point.

We never feel like we’re good enough to do anything whether it’s a new profession, trade or skillset. And a lot of this is normal. It happens to the very best of us

The real issue is that others let it stop them and don’t even try. And even when they do others shame them for it.

Some people are just negative and can’t wait to put you down just to make themselves feel good. Friends do this when they’re secretly envious. Even people you may look up to may be guilty of this at times.

Your endeavors may not benefit them and despite your very commendable efforts, they either ignore or shun you.

People are naturally egotistical and selfish so I’m not going give you permission to complain here.

You must just be aware of energy vampires around you and don’t let them sabotage your dreams and what you work so hard for. 

Select those whom you take constructive advice wisely. Most importantly make sure you surround yourself with positive people.

Conclusion

None of us are perfect and infallible.

However, you simply must understand the ways you are held back from being the best person you can be and achieving massive success (whatever that looks like for you). 

All people and influences are not made equal even with those we love and hold dearly. 

On your journey to live an amazing life there will be roadblocks and that’s not a bad thing.

You need them to deepen your knowledge, experience and to truly appreciate your success.

But you still need to do you the utmost to minimize and avoid the roadblocks and pitfalls that you can.

Do you JUST  feel STUCK?

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About the Author Craige

Craige Hardel is an an email marketing expert, entrepreneur, mindset coach, community advocate & technology enthusiast who is passionate about helping people become their best selves and live lives to their full potential.

  • Thanks so much for this post! Fear and procrastination are my biggest enemies!

  • Om Singh says:

    Srilankan church bombings and brutal mosque attack in Christchurch New Zealand was the worst time of 2019. Well, Really awesome article Craige as always.

  • Craige, wow, well said. You are right about how fears can suck the life out of us. The past few years I’ve been doing more of what I am afraid of. From business to pleasure I’ve been adding fear to build my confidence and my life. It truly can make a difference.
    So sad to read some of your stats here but they are true.
    I think they should be fear building classes taught in school to help young people develop more confidence.

  • Ashley says:

    This definitely gives me a lot to think about. It is so true that fear of failing at achieving my dreams holds me back. I need to just go all in or else I truly will fail. Thanks for your post!

  • Tina says:

    Thanks for the article – I needed to read this today!

  • Jane says:

    Oh my word! You really hit the nail on the head with this post! I am guilty of some of these. I suffer from immense imposter syndrome. Like I have this dream of wanting to be a freelancer writer. I have bought courses, but I cant make the first move to find a client. So I stay stuck. Stuck in a job that I am not passionate about. Its time to stop being so fearful.Thank you so much!

  • Fear can be so hard to control. Thank you!

  • Decent post. Thanks for the information

  • This is such a good perspective!

  • Yes, being connected with positive individuals is a beneficial life changer, for sure.

  • Cassie says:

    That’s a lot of great information especially about the misinformation of poor people

  • Luna S says:

    I completely agree, fear is a huge reason why so many people don’t go for their dreams, change to a better job, etc because there are a number of “what ifs” and fears in their mind so they choose to play it safe which isn’t always the best thing to do. Great post.

  • that is SOOOOO true!!!!! I needed to read this!

  • Van Cast says:

    Yes! I couldn’t agree more. Fears can limit us, but being brave is the solution 🙂

  • Neil Alvin says:

    Well it’s OK to have fear but it should not hinder you from your everyday functions.

    • Craige says:

      Exactly. A bit of fear is good, otherwise we wouldn’t live very long or protect those we care for. But when we mistake that for taking action on things we know we should, there’s where it gets irrational.

  • It is very true that fear can suck your life of its potential but the important thing is to always stay positive 🙂 Thank you

  • Michael says:

    Thanks for the article Craige. Stay positive, stay focused, and get after it.

  • Hackytips says:

    Nobody can help us to overcome our dar fear. It is we who has to develop confidence and will power to move away from it.

  • This is so true. I have been cutting down and facing my fears. The only ones I have left relate to my children. Facing them is basically liberating yourself one fear at a time with the ultimate goal of total freedom. I do wish I had started a little earlier in my life.

  • Poorna says:

    Fear does have the tendency to make us feel numb and stop us from achieving our goals. Great post!

  • Elizabeth O says:

    I completely agree, you just have to acknowledge that you have fears that influence your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits, and thus your life. Make plans on how to deal with those and don’t think twice.

  • JenRa says:

    You are totally right, I’m taking a social media break soon! Thank you for sharing

  • Blair villanueva says:

    I’ve been to corporate industry for many years, and each time a good employee leaves, it hurts my feeling that my employer treat them like disposable tissue.

  • Elizabeth O says:

    I sometimes feel fear, it can’t be helped at times, but I always try to convince myself to be brave.

    • Craige says:

      We all should. It’s not necesarily pretending it’s just that our words carry so much meaning. More than we realize and we must watch them and act in good faith

  • Francisco says:

    you’ve given me a lot to think about! There are so many ways fear affects us every day

  • Nia says:

    I suffer from severe imposter syndrome… I always think everyone is more qualified than I am, till I end up taking the lead! Sometimes it just takes a little encouragement(

  • Stephanie Stebbins says:

    So true. This was so helpful in putting my feelings into words and what they mean!

  • David Arndt says:

    Fear is terrible. It stops us from doing a lot of things that are not nearly as dangerous as they sound.
    This was pretty interesting.

  • Jackline says:

    Great article about not letting fear get to get to you. Fear has affected a lot of people.

  • Hackytips says:

    Knowingly or unknowingly one or the other fear is living inside us. Others can only suggest but only we can overcome the fear. Great post!

  • Arun Dahiya says:

    Agreed, fear sometimes stop us from living our life. It is okay to be afraid but it shouldn’t stop and overpower. And ofc, we aren’t perfect what matters is trying our best.

  • cat uy says:

    it is not easy to face your fear but holding back to things that you’re afraid of is losing tons of opportunities ahead of you. we should master our fears. what a nice post.

  • Marjie Mare says:

    Very interesting article. For a long time, I have let my fear of public speaking consumes me and I have felt so comfortable in my silent corner. Then I realize that I was stuck and I decided to take some steps to overcome my fear. That journey is still ongoing and I am gaining more and more confidence to talk in front of a large audience.

  • Hoang Vi Fessenden says:

    Oh wow this is def a great read and i def. agree as well!

  • Rudy says:

    Very inspirational. I think if one is to die, then die doing something you love doing. Not that I worry that anyone will, but living with boundaries created by fear, despite how scary the world has become, is not really living now, is it?

  • Maysz says:

    Very great article for me if don’t conquer your fears you can’t grow any way I love this article.

  • Akriti says:

    I have experienced this in the past and I can say that the only way to overcome fear is to face it. You need to really motivate yourself from within.

  • DeShena@ExtravagantlyBroke.com says:

    I agree that so often we let fear creep in and hold us back from achieving our dreams. You make a lot of valid observations here that are very eye-opening.

  • Blair villanueva says:

    Only ourselves could help us to get out of those fear, and not be affected by mind conditioning especially by the media. If we dont push ourselves to get out, we will be stuck forever.

  • Image Earth Travel says:

    Great insightful article and totally agree that fear holds us back.

  • Martin says:

    Hi Craige. Thanks for this wonderful article. Fear and thinking of what can go wrong definititely hold us back. And the thing is: it accomplishes nothing.

  • Dalene Ekirapa says:

    Powerful words you’ve shared! I’ll have to agree that fear really cripples us and causes us to not reach the fullness of our potential. Until one changes that mentality and faces their fears head-on, you’ll never succeed in anything.

  • TheFrugalSamurai says:

    Another great post, short, snappy and to the point. Love how you break it all down. Fear comes from us all – just depends on what we do about it.

  • This was a lot of well thought out information! I have been more intentional about trying to live my life in such a way that I don’t care what others think. The people who care about me will support me as long as I’m doing my best so who cares if not everyone does?

  • Renee says:

    I just love this! I recently got over the fear of sharing my blog with friends and family. I was afraid what they would think but when I got over it I saw a lot of growth

  • Imposter syndrome is a real and crippling thing. We have to work to get past that so that we can keep growing.

  • Lulu says:

    Very wise tips given here. Thank you

  • Luna S says:

    Great post! I deal with this often and I am working on not letting my fear hold me back so much.

  • they say the only thing to fear is fear itself. fear keeps us from moving ahead

  • Marjie Mare says:

    Very informative post. I refuse to let fear control my life. No matter how uncomfortable it is, I will overcome it.

  • Mary Traveler says:

    So helpful to uplift spirits today! Fear is indeed a negative vibe that slowly eats you inside, scary but if you know how to handle it and win over it then You are Strong!

  • I totally agree with you. If we were a little courageous, more challenges will become easier.

  • Mila R says:

    Well, easy to day, harder to practice… but we should try anway.

  • Sue Denym says:

    Powerful article! Thanks for sharing!

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