Action Cancels Fear

By Silver Rose

Overcoming Procrastination & Worry

Somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12, I suffered from chronic School Night Insomnia. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 school age children contract this dreaded disease at least once in their school career. Many are never cured and carry it into adulthood.

Everyone’s symptoms are a little different. For example, this terrible affliction caused me to lie awake until 2, 3, and 4 in the morning, staring at the ceiling, terrified by the sure knowledge of what would happen to me in the morning when my teacher discovered I hadn’t done my homework.

In an effort to distract myself (and to overcome the endless tedium of staring at the ceiling which had no interesting qualities whatsoever), I would sneak into the bathroom and do one of several entertaining things: (1) I would read Nancy Drew books and become convinced that, because Nancy was so amazingly clever, her teacher never yelled at her; (2) I would rearrange the medicine cabinet alphabetically, thereby causing my father to curse and holler in the morning, “For cryin’ out loud, where IS my shaver?!? (see “r” for razor) or (3) like some sort of mad facial anthropologist, I would gaze upon my countenance in the mirror, making horrible discoveries. I came to understand, with depressing clarity, that I was destined to go through life with a lopsided face, a crooked mouth and a chorus line of blackheads dancing around the corners of my nose.

Now, here’s the embarrassing part of the story. Not once – in the three or four years I suffered from chronic School Night Insomnia – not ONCE did it occur to me to sneak into the bathroom AND JUST DO MY HOMEWORK!!!!

Lo! Many years later, I looked back at the years of suffering and realized that the reason I couldn’t sleep was due to fear. And I discovered a very important principle that has helped me to overcome procrastination and worry:

Now, I am not, for one minute, suggesting that you “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I think fear is there for a reason and it is imperative that we pay attention to it. What I AM suggesting is that, when you are worried about something or procrastinating, that you determine what small action step you can take that will bring you closer to where you want to be.

Without a doubt, obsessing about it will produce no positive results at all and may, in fact, make you sick.

In the hit movie, What About Bob? the psychiatrist, played by Richard Dreyfuss has written a book in which he advocates overcoming any kind of problem in your life by taking “baby steps” toward the end goal. This wonderful movie, designed to make us laugh, has inadvertently helped many who suffer from worry and procrastination.
Bob, the patient played so brilliantly by Bill Murray, takes the “baby steps” advice to heart and slowly overcomes his varied and numerous neuroses and psychoses (while literally driving his psychiatrist crazy!) My favorite scene is when he decides to overcome his fear of the water by having his new friends tie him tightly to the masthead on a sailboat so there is no possibility of falling in. As he sails by Dreyfuss, he happily yells something like, “Look, Doc! I’m sailing! I’m sailing! Ain’t it GREAT!?!”

Small steps, even taken at 3 or 4 in the morning, can go a long way toward reducing anxiety and ensuring success. If, at the age of 8, I knew about the Law of Attraction, I would have realized that, by focusing on how my teacher was going to punish me, I was virtually guaranteeing that it would come to pass. Not only that but I was attracting the same sort of relationship in other areas of my life (with my parents, for example).

You attract what you focus on. When it comes to worry and procrastination, think of Bill Murray tied to the masthead and take just one baby step of action. I promise you, your fear and anxiety will start to dissolve immediately.