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Read Our Blog:  Perspectives

Saturday
Feb212009

Fighting Fear

Awhile ago, my daughters shared this "Rat Monster" video with me.  Today, I was thinking about Facing Fears and this video came to mind.  The first time I watched this video, I laughed so hard I cried, but today I have a more profound perspective (it is still hilarious though).

Fighting Fear - Six Lessons from the Rat Monster

1.  Context Triggers Fear

The creators of Scare Tactics effectively created a believable context for the Rat Monster.  The location (creepy lab), props (pickled fetus), and influential comments from another person made it easier for Bryant to believe in the Rat Monster.

Surroundings and commentary from others can lead to fear.  Fight fear by changing your environment and (possibly) your companionsl

"Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light."
(Dorothy Thompson)

2.  Past Experience Triggers Fear

Bryant is a PETA member, and based on that was pre-disposed to respond negatively to the testing lab experience.  He was already forming his perspective before the Rat Monster even appeared.  His past pre-disposed him to respond to the Rat Monster with fear.

Past failures or feelings of inadequacy can cause us to fear the challenges and opportunities of the present.  Fight fear by learning from the past and boldly participating in the present. 

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt."
(Jane Addams)

3.  Fear Triggers Unreasonable Response and Loss of Control

Bryant's reaction to the Rat Monster was unconstrained and irrational.  He was not able to analyze and evaluate the situation, and instead totally flipped out.  He lost control of his ability to fully process the situation.

Fear can lead to reactionary, unfiltered responses that make no sense.  Fight fear by reminding yourself to analyze and evaluate before reacting to a situation.

" I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."
(Rosa Parks)

4.  Fear Is Often Not Based In Reality

Bryant quite easily believed that the Rat Monster was real, even the show producers seemed surprised at this . . .  He failed to anchor his response in reality.  There was no basis for believing that such a creature could exist.

Fear can cause a suspension of disbelief, leading us to accept a premise that we would otherwise never consider.  Fight fear by holding on to reality.

"Anything scares me, anything scares anyone but really after all considering how dangerous everything is nothing is really very frightening."
(Gertrude Stein)

5.  Fear Paralyzes

Bryant had some compassion for the Rat Monster (as evidenced by his "classic line") but he could not act on that compassion.  His fear caused him to either cower or run.

Fight fear by confronting it.  Do not allow it to paralyze you and cause you to be complacent or to hide.  Instead, go through the fear and take action.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

6.  Fear Causes Loss of Perspective

Bryant's fear led him to assume the Rat Monster was dangerous, and was more powerful than he.  He did not remember that he is bigger, smarter, and likely more powerful.  He blew the situation out of proportion.

Fear may lead to the loss of objectivity.  Even the smallest situation can seem overwhelming when we view it through a filter of fear.  Fight fear by sticking with a known frame of reference - do not make "mountains out of molehills."

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."
(Louisa May Alcott)

Let's Talk.  What other lessons do you see in the Rat Monster (or from your observations of life)?  How do you fight fear?