“F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real”

Imagine you are living in a dark room, terrified night and day by the presence of
a large and deadly snake who lives coiled in the corner. You do whatever you can
to avoid that corner of the room, a part of your attention forever focused on the
snake in case it decides to slither away from its preferred resting place.

Now, imagine that for one full minute, all the lights come on in the room.
Allowing your curiosity to overcome your fear, you look over to the snake only to
find it was nothing more than a bit of coiled rope with a frayed end – no more
daunting or dangerous than an oversized piece of string.

Even if the lights went back out, you would never again be frightened of that
piece of rope in the same way. Because you had seen for yourself what actually
is, you could never again fall victim to the illusion.


What is the snake in the corner of your room?

In other words, what is your deepest, darkest most secret fear – the thing that
you would do anything to avoid looking at, let alone confronting head on?

The most prevalent secret fears I come across in my work with individuals and
groups fit into what author Frank Mosca calls ‘The Unbearable Wrongness of Being’:

*Being unlovable, unworthy, or undeserving
*Being a fraud and/or being ‘found out’
*Being bad, dangerous, or evil

Regardless of what snake you may believe has been lurking in the darkest corners
of your mind, there are two key distinctions that I have used time and again to
great effect in teaching people first to become better snake handlers and then to
turn on the light of inner awareness as they work with their own personal

1. It is (almost) always alright NOW.

One of the simplest and most effective ways I use to deal with both pain and fear
is the recognition that whatever lions, tigers, or bears I think may be hanging
out in the corner with my snake, things are almost always alright in this present
moment. In other words, unless you are reading this while plunging 60 miles per
hour headfirst into a giant threshing machine, chances are that everything is
fine right where you are sitting now.

2. It often takes only one glimpse of freedom to eliminate the fear forever.

In Zen Buddhism, the temporary experience of ‘the lights coming on’ (i.e.
enlightenment’) is called Kensho. While the experience may fade, the in-sights
received from the experience are yours to keep always.

Here are some of the typical mini-enlightenment experiences my friends and
clients have shared over the years:

*Finally having that conversation you’ve been avoiding, only to discover that it
was no big deal and that the relationship you were worried about destroying is
now stronger than ever

*Coming out of the closet about your deepest, darkest secret to find that a.
everybody already knew and/or b. nobody really cares!

*Finding out that the person you were so jealous of or frightened by was actually
jealous and frightened of you

*Finding yourself face to face with what you most fear and realizing that what
made it so scary was the story you’d been telling yourself about what it would
mean about you or your life if you ‘got it wrong’.

Today’s Experiment:

1. Spend some time this week ‘snake hunting’. If you will feel safer, take an
experienced guide with you, be it a coach, counselor, friend, therapist,
minister, or monk.

Here are a few good snake hunting questions:

*What are you afraid would happen if you just did whatever you wanted, moment by
*Which of your secrets will be discovered after you die?
*What would you do differently if there were no rules?
*What are you afraid it would mean about you if you didn’t do what you should do?

2. Make a list of the three worst things anyone could find out about you, take an
ad out in a newspaper and tell a few hundred thousand people about it.
(Alternatively, tell just one trusted friend about it in the next 24 hours and
watch your snake turn into an old piece of rope and crumble away to nothing. :-)

3. The next time you want someone to change their behavior, ask them to change
without justifying your position (even in your own mind). Notice how differently
they respond to your request.

Have fun, learn heaps, and if you hear something hissing in the corner, it’s
probably just the radiator!

Author's Bio: 

Deepak Lodhia

The Life Strategy & Success Coach

As one of the leading British life strategy and Success coaches, Deepak Lodhia has coached hundreds of people over the last seven years. He incorporates many of the strategies and techniques developed by Coaching, to help people maximise their personal happiness and business effectiveness. He has, in essence, been coaching and training all his life - including training martial artists and firewalkers - and professionally working with business leaders and members of the public. His prime purpose as a coach is to encourage people to make the absolute best of their potential, to become fulfilled, productive and profitable. This is achieved by developing specific, tailor-made strategies for each individual. The coaching process is effective, results-oriented and great fun and the client invariably feels unconditionally supported throughout.