#689 Fear: Stop or Go? (Part II)

Step on the Gas and Let’s Do This!

In our last +1, we talked about the power of conjuring up a “Go!!” sign in our minds rather than a “Stop!” sign when we encounter fear.

Adam Grant encourages us to approach things like that as well.

Here’s how he puts it in Originals.

Note1: He shares this wisdom in the context of the whole “I’m excited!” research I love so much.

Note2: As a former anxious-about-everything kinda guy, “I’m excited!” might just be THE #1 Tool I’ve ever used! (Tied for first with “Bring it on!!”)

Here’s Adam: “To overcome fear, why does getting excited work better than trying to calm yourself down? Fear is an intense emotion: You can feel your heart pumping and your blood coursing. In that state, trying to relax is like slamming on the brakes when the car is going 80 miles per hour. The vehicle still has momentum. Rather than trying to suppress a strong emotion, it’s easier to convert it into a different emotion—one that’s equally intense, but propels us to step on the gas.

Physiologically, we have a stop system and a go system. ‘Your stop system slows you down and makes you cautious and vigilant,’ explains Quiet author Susan Cain. ‘Your go system revs you up and makes you excited.’ Instead of hitting the stop switch, we can motivate ourselves to act in the face of fear by pressing the go switch. Fear is marked by uncertainty about the future. We’re worried that something bad will happen. But because the event hasn’t occurred yet, there’s also a possibility, however slim, that the outcome will be positive. We can step on the gas by focusing on reasons to move forward—the sliver of excitement that we feel about breaking loose and singing our song.

That’s Today’s +1.

I’m excited.


Let’s step on the gas and go!

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