Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pink squirrels, fear and the freedom to dream

This is important now: Don’t think about pink squirrels for the next 30 seconds. Ready? Go!

You have a pretty clear image of a pink squirrel in your mind now, don’t you?

And that, simply put, is why I'm going to put out a revised edition of my book Refuse to be Afraid with a new name: Free to Dream.

The content will be nearly the same and the purpose is identical: To help readers identify the fears that stand in the way of reaching their dreams. But part of the key to that is to practice positive, not negative, reinforcement.

I’ve heard that President Ronald Reagan would go through his speeches and change words and phrases to communicate them in a positive manner: “I will never forget” became “I will always remember,” for example. The idea was related to Earl Nightingale’s “Strangest Secret”: We become what we think about.

If I press upon you that the most important thing is to refuse to be afraid, then I have put the fear into the front of your mind. But the goal is to bring your fears under control, to free yourself, to help you take the leap necessary to fulfill your dream. So I’ve given the book a title that reflects that goal.

Try this: As you face a new day, repeat to yourself “I refuse to be afraid. I refuse to be afraid!” See if that doen’t make you feel just a tad anxious. The phrase calls attention to the fears you are trying to wrangle. Now try this: “I am free to dream. I am free to dream!” The fears start melting out of your consciousness, right?

We need to recognize when fear is holding us back and, yes, refuse to be afraid. But our internal conversation needs to be focused on the results that will occur when we overcome that fear — when we are free to dream.


Anne Elizabeth Mueller said...

I was lucky enough to learn this in college and it is amazing how you notice that everyone sends memos that say "don't forget." We were taught to look at the last word, for that is the one that sticks. If forget is the last word, you forget. If remember is the last word, you remember. Great topic. Wish I'd thought of it.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to you, Warren! And bravissimo as well for choosing to "come out" as your real self last fall over on Montag.

Just yesterday I decided to do the same thing, and looked up your old blog to copy a link about refusing to be afraid...how eerie and magnificent to find that you had already taken that plunge!

Peace, freedom and good dreams to you, from the blogger you knew as "Taran Jordan" at The Freedom Outlaw.