When I was younger my fears had a really powerful grip on me. Fear was certainly ruling my life. It nearly ruined my life before it got properly started.
I was scared I’d lose my job. I was scared that people would not like me. I was scared that my girlfriend would stop loving me. I was scared I would not have enough money. In the end, I suspect that I was also scared by my own fears.
Then I heard a speaker say, “Fear is only what you imagine might happen.” That made sense to me. It did not stop me from being afraid. But it got me thinking about fear and how I was making myself feel afraid.
In time I came to realise a very important truth about fear: I was making myself feel afraid by imagining what might happen if the worst-case scenario turned out to be real.
The First Step Away From Being Dominated by Fear
I started to pay attention to what was actually happening to me. Every day I would write a Fear Diary. I would write down what I had felt afraid about.
What happened was that when I would read back about the fears I had felt a few days previously I could see that the fear scenario I had created had NOT played out. This was an AMAZING discovery. I realised that I hadn’t needed to be afraid of that scenario.
Realising that I had been afraid about something that had never happened created a huge feeling of relief. I now had confirmation that it was my IMAGINATION that was making me feel afraid.
This Was a Really Cool Discovery
Once I realised that I had been using my imagination to generate massive amounts of fear energy. Enough negative energy to stop me from doing many things. I started to understand the power of my imagination
I asked myself, “If my imagination can create all this negative energy, might it also be able to create equal amounts of positive energy?” “What might happen if I start to imagine positive outcomes?”
From that day I started to change the way I used my imagination. When I noticed that I was feeling afraid I would ask myself, “What is the negative outcome that I feel afraid might happen?” Once I had the image of what I was afraid might happen I asked myself, “What is the positive opposite of that outcome?” I would then create a positive outcome image that would turn my fear into hope and happiness.
Here’s How it Works
Let me give one example. I had a constant fear of public speaking. The moment I was asked to make a presentation or give a talk I would break out into a cold sweat. I would imagine the audience looking bored or walking out before I had finished. I would image everyone looking embarrassed when I finished and no-one applauding. I could see myself looking terrified and ashamed as I walked away.
However, the next time I was asked to give a presentation I made a conscious effort to imagine the audience looking interested and engaged as they listened to me. When I finished, I imagined the audience applauding enthusiastically. This had a dramatic effect on the way I prepared my presentation and on the energy with which I delivered my talk.
I am not suggesting that I went from “timid” to “super-confident” overnight. That didn’t happen. But over the course of the weeks and months that I started to practice positive imagining, I did become more confident. I would eventually start my own successful business. I would marry the girl of my dreams and become a successful entrepreneur. It all happened because I mastered the art of using my imagination positively.