I am a member of a cult.

The cult of positive thinking. I know it is mostly garbage. Yet, it makes me feel good.

Positive thinking is great and then real life happens. 

The job ended but my responsibilities didn’t. Everyone always told me to think positively, and good things will happen. Well, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this, that’s for sure.

That’s when deep fear sets in and other emotions like pity, despair, anger, and shame arise. The prophets of positive thinking teach that only thinking positive thoughts always leads to positive results. Sometimes that might be true.

Well, not this time.

Change (Action) 

But something did change. I changed. Only after I changed did positive thinking start to work.

Not because of positive thinking though. But because of negative thinking, that ended up creating the chance to choose to be positive. I had to acknowledge and accept ALL of my emotions.

Positive thinking is usually the wrong key for most doors. The reason it is the wrong key is because of the way people teach and apply it. When it used correctly, it is magical though.

The brutal truth is that positive thinking only works when coupled with actions. Actions tempered by humility, skills, and desire.

I believe we should always look for the good. That doesn’t mean I think we should ignore the bad. I know the opposite actually works.

Super Powers

Emotions are powerful. They are almost like superpowers, and they are contagious.

As humans, our entire existence is how we experience various emotions. To live a full life, we cannot hide some of our emotions in favor of others.

You cannot expect to be complete while cutting off the piece of you that hurts.

You need to embrace your entire self. Embrace your entire range of emotions. Do not create a wall behind the good and run away from the bad.

Enthusiasm and pain, love and sorrow are all important emotions. What you feel is real. What you feel is what makes you who you are. Embrace those emotions. Learn to listen to them, you have them for a reason.

Life is funny and we all have experienced it. We “think” our cognitive brains are guiding us, when it is actually our emotions. We want something so bad, we pursue it and then realize in the end, we didn’t want or need it. It is only after accepting the negative, the mediocre, and the good that a complete decision is final.

The Biggest Obstacle

One emotion we try to mask too often is fear. We are afraid of failing. We are afraid of missing out. We are afraid to be imposters. We are afraid of being afraid.

Fear stops more people every day that failure ever could. No emotion has the ability to control us, unless we let it. We all choose how we respond to our emotions. The ones we think we cannot control, the ones who we shy away from are the ones that grow. Those are the emotions with the power to hurt us.

Fear cannot be buried or hidden away, as it always comes back, it always resurfaces. Fear is an evil monster that unless dealt with head-on will always find a way to reappear.

Ultimate Secret

The ultimate secret to overcoming fear is not to think positively. But rather, to embrace the fear. Understand it. Define it. Then question it.

Once you do that, then you can create an action plan to beat it. Once you are OK, or at peace with the “worst thing ever”, then anything other than that will be a success.

Find success by entertaining fear. Invite fear to your house and be a welcoming host.

When you have fear, try this 5 step plan:

1. EMBRACE the Fear – think about every possibility. Write down the worst thing that can happen. This scenario should be the worst case possible. Accept this scenario as your starting point.

2. DEFINE the Fear – be able to understand WHY you are afraid. Know thyself. Be true to yourself. Take the time to figure out your fear and motivations. Label and define it.

3. QUESTION the Fear – ask yourself: Is this fear good or is the fear bad? Does this fear motivate me or does it paralyze me? Is this fear even real? What does it mean?

4. Create an ACTION PLAN – create a step-by-step plan that will take you to your destination. Make sure to leave room for mistakes along the way. Each action you plan helps to lead you away from the worst-case scenario.

5. Take Action NOW – nothing beats doing. Nothing. Action erases all fear. Follow your plan and adjust as you go.

Once we have accepted and reviewed all our emotions, being positive is the best choice. Since we choose how we respond to our emotions, we need choose to be positive. Embrace everything. Embrace both the good and the bad, and then make the deliberate choice to take positive action.

Create a positive mindset after weighing all the variables, and you will achieve more.

The biggest regret most people have is that they didn’t spend enough time with those they love. The 2nd? They let FEAR stop them.

Don’t let fear stop YOU!

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*originally published on LinkedIn.