I am listening to a great audiobook called “The Tools”, by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. I highly recommend it, both audio and print. Great narration, wonderful information.
The first “tool” that they discuss is called the “Reversal of Desire”. In a nutshell, this tool is used when a person gets stuck in their comfort zone, avoiding all pain and discomfort to the detriment of their dreams and goals. Humans have a “gift” of avoiding uncomfortable and/or painful things, but the only way we grow and succeed is to face these things (fears). The key is to take the avoidance desire and turn it around: Actively desire the pain, the discomfort. Mentally yell, “Bring it on!” at the cloud of fear, and then use that fear as energy to move forward. For a better explanation, I highly recommend you read “The Tools” for yourself.
I have seen this tool work in my life and the lives of my students. I remember, way back in the Dark Ages when I was a teenager, being so afflicted by stage fright that I had difficulty performing in front of anyone … especially my teacher. The adrenaline would flow, I would start to shake uncontrollably just at the thought of performing in front of any audience.
One day, while I was taking a lunch break from my job as a salesman at Sears, Roebuck, & Co. in a shopping center located in Salt Lake City, Utah, I had a breakthrough. It was the Christmas holiday season, and the mall was packed with shoppers. For some reason, I was walking through the crowded food court with my violin case in hand. I thought, “Man, it would be really scary to have to play for all these people.” Immediately my blood stream was flooded with adrenaline, and I wanted out of there as fast as possible.
I clearly remember what happened next.
I thought, “This is stupid. You need to face this fear and embrace it once and for all time”. Yeah, right. So I found a bench that wasn’t being used, opened up my violin case, climbed up on the the planter behind the bench, and commenced playing Christmas carols to hundreds of unsuspecting shoppers. For the next 45 minutes I played continually. I felt energized and invigorated, and a feeling akin to spiritual ecstasy.
I realized then that my fear reaction was exactly the same, physically, as the reaction I got when riding the roller coaster at the local theme park. The only difference was my perception of the event. One seemed “scary”, the other “exciting.” From then on, I have relished performing in front of crowds, large or small, and to this day I look forward to that adrenaline rush.
If it hadn’t been for my accidental use of the “Reversal of Desire” tool, I doubt that my life would have been so rich. I am living a life of constant excitement and opportunity due to that one life-changing instance.
Is there something in your life that you are afraid to confront? Would confronting it take you out of your comfort zone? Use the “Reversal of Desire”, mentally scream “Bring it on!” at your fear, and watch your opportunities open before your eyes.
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