Tony Robbins said it best. “Life is the dance between what we fear the most and what we want the most.”
I recently published an article on fear titled “Fear may be secretly destroying your life and relationships…See how and conquer it." It explored the different ways fear creeps in and holds us back from our best relationships and lives.
Someone read the article and asked a very important question: “How does one balance between fear and being careful?”
As I thought about that, I started to get an even deeper perspective on fear.
Here is what I have come to find out about the balance between fear and caution in life and relationships:
1) Fear focuses all our attention on avoiding pain. Caution balances the avoidance of pain and the achievement of gain.
Fear in Career: When we are afraid of something: losing our job, being cheated on, losing money and so on, it is almost impossible to simultaneously pursue real GAIN in those situations. In other words, when you are afraid of losing your job, you CAN’T do all the things that will help you get a promotion at the same time. All you’re worried about is not getting fired.
Caution in Career: However, if you are cautious about your job, you will work to prevent being fired, but still have the bandwidth to do the things that will earn you a promotion at the same time.
Fear in Romance: When you are so afraid of being cheated on or losing the relationship, it’s impossible to invest in the relationship and make it flourish into the “next level” to eliminate the very loss you are afraid of. At the same time, all you’re worried about is preventing emotional devastation and loss.
Caution in Romance: In a state of caution, you can still be concerned about the risk of disappointment but instead of being paralyzed by it, you find that you are able to invest in and pursue a great relationship SO THAT the risk of disappointment reduces.
Fear in Money: When you are terrified of losing money, you typically can’t aggressively invest or pursue profit at the same time. You’ll be too worried about protecting your money. THAT IS WHAT FEAR DOES.
Caution in Money: With caution, you are still able to pursue profit while mitigating loss.
2) Fear focuses our attention on how afraid we feel. Caution allows us to focus on the actual facts of the matter:
As I said in the last article, fear wants to make itself real. So what does it do? Fear removes our focus from evaluating the thing we are afraid of, and focuses our spiritual, emotional, mental, financial or relational energy on HOW afraid we are….even more than the thing we are afraid of. In other words, with fear, we measure how serious or real a fear is, by how afraid we “feel” about the thing.
Caution is quite different.
With caution, we are very aware of how afraid we are, but it doesn’t take up ALL our energy and bandwidth. With caution, we are able to change our focus from how afraid we are/feel, and focus on the facts of the matter and by so doing, quite possibly quench the fear. In other words, with caution, we measure how serious a fear should be not by how afraid we “feel” about it, but by what we “know” for a fact about that thing
3) Fear is in competition with what we really want…Caution is objective and doesn’t take sides:
That beginning quote above by Tony Robbins is really profound: “Life is the dance between what we fear the most and what we want the most.”
The thing about fear though is that: Fear is always trying to prevent what we want the most. (Click to tweet that)
It is hard for us to live in a state of fear if we are thriving and achieving the things we really truly want the most. Think about it.
The more fulfilled people feel about their lives, the more fearless they seem to be. The less fulfilled people are in their lives (in the areas that really matter to them), the more fearful they seem to be.
Fear does not want you to get what you really want in life. Why? Because when you start to live a life where you are getting the relationship, lifestyle, personal fulfillment you want in life, the more you start to believe that anything is possible….and that state of mind is not conducive for fear.
Caution doesn’t compete against what you really want in life. It just wants to get you there carefully. So it pulls you towards what you want, but helps you ensure that you pay attention to the details. It at least allows you to be objective while working towards what you want in life.
Fear Vs. Caution FYIs
Fear eliminates the will to try….
Caution allows you to try within the parameters you set.
(Click to Tweet)
Fear doesn’t do anything with steady hands….
Caution may do it slowly, but at least its steady.
(Click to Tweet)
The same wall that keeps out disappointment also keeps out success.
(Click to tweet that)
Fear says this is the end. Caution says…this might possibly be the beginning
(Click to tweet)
So that’s it. Be cautious in life…but do not let fear anywhere near you. Now go out there and live your best life!
Tobi Atte is a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, motivational speaker and the writer behind IJustMetMe, a lifestyle website for young adults who need a good dose of daily inspiration to tackle tough life issues. Tobi is also the author of the new book How to Make Sure Your Values are Aligned: A Guide to Avoiding Relationship Frustration. For more on relationships, motivation, fresh perspectives on faith, personal improvement and more, read/learn more at www.ijustmetme.com, watch him on YouTube HERE and download his free e-book HERE.