Space: Fear

“Between stimulus and response is a space.
In that space is the freedom and power to choose.”

Steven Covey

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Space Series

Fear

I’ve heard personal growth gurus say that fear stands for:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real.

The experience of fear is very real and it’s physiological — it causes us to freeze.

Fear is one type of being stuck.

I’ve learned that a lot of fear, the “false evidence” part, has to do with the fear response that comes from our ancient, reptilian brain.

Since that reptilian brain, we’ve also developed a mammalian brain, and then an executive brain.

Most of the rational, logical thoughts and skills that we celebrate today have to do with executive brain — but fear is from the reptilian brain.

There is a space between stimulus and response; that’s what this series is about.

When I feel fear, something has stimulated that fear, and I’m reacting — which means I’ve removed the space between stimulus and response. We’ve got stimulus, reaction, fear, and — I’m stuck.

I want to open up the space between stimulus and response.

The way I open that space up, and you can start doing this today, is to examine the fear.

The fear is in my mind, and I want to take responsibility for my mind.

So I examine the fear and ask myself, what is this really about? What’s the original stimulus? How much stimulus have I added to that?

In other words, how much have I told myself a story about how horrible things are going to happen?

If I can open up that space between stimulus and response, and acknowledge the stimulus of my fear — then it becomes clear that the stimulus is real, but all these other things that I’m thinking about don’t have to become true.

Send all of your questions to hello@responsibility.com. I do look forward to hearing from you.

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