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Unless you are an anthropoid or alien, sometime in the last 24 hours you had a moment of doubt, worry or alarm.

It might have been fear of losing your job. Or possibly you distrusted a friend or partner’s feelings for you. Maybe you worried that fire or storms would destroy your home. Or had a nagging feeling that getting older might actually kill you. Why, with Halloween almost upon us, you might even have a fear of All Hallow’s Eve itself. (This is termed Samhainophobia, and originates from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to usher in the darker time of year — and ward off ghosts.)

Whatever your trepidation, how do you get rid of gnawing anxiety, creepy shivers, or full blown panic?

Start by thinking of one scary thing that’s on your mind right now. Something you tend to avoid, but that sparks fear in you.  Whatever your boogeyman is, say the word out loud. Be it “sharks” or “elevators” or “corporate administrators” or “trapped on a Boeing 737 Max.” Giving voice to your fear can make you realize that what spooks you is mostly living in a dark corner of your mind, and is not an imminent threat. If sharks scare you and you live in Kansas, the worry is not a real threat. If you work on Wall Street and have a fear of farm threshers, you’re good for now. 

Now take it a step further: Think about the worst thing that could happen if your fear actually materialized. What if that shark found its way to Kansas and bit your leg clean off?  It’s true your professional tap-dancing career could be over, but you might still go on to win a gold medal in the Paralympics. If you lost your business, lost your faithful dog, lost your spouse or lost your mind, it can be the start of a bold new chapter in your life adventure.

The point is, when your worst fears happen, it is never game over. You will always have the power to change your attitude, even in the worst of situations.  What about death, you ask? On the plus side, you finally get a good night’s sleep!

But this doesn’t mean you should walk around completely unprepared for the worst.  Excrement does hit the fan, so what is the simplest solution to overcoming the fear you may be avoiding? After all, the only thing worse than our fear becoming manifest is being caught with our pants down, when we always knew better.

While we can’t list them all, here are a few suggestions to place in your fear-dispelling toolkit. Good luck, and may you vanquish your fear once and for all!

83-function swiss army knife, should you find yourself abandoned in deep forest.

 

Tactical pro flashlight to shine a light on burglars, predators and small rodents.

Roadside assistance kit when there’s no cell service to call Triple A.

 

Bear attack deterrent, for bear attacks.

Book to read before asking for a raise.

 

Elvis in "No Plan B"

Frequently, you’ll hear someone say: “And if that doesn’t work — we’ll proceed to Plan B.”

But isn’t this simply preparing for failure? Fear that Plan A won’t work. Fear that something may go wrong.  

When other people sense that you doubt your course, they, too, become afraid. Imagine you’re a passenger in an airplane and the captain comes on the intercom and says:  “We’ll be landing soon at O’Hare International Airport — unless I can’t get the wheels down — and if that’s the case we’ll go to Plan B.”  Nobody really wants to hear someone say that. 

The SuperOptimist is of the mind that all energy down to our very last molecule should be focused on achieving the primary goal — and that any time spent planning for failure, setbacks, or humbling defeat only activates fear. Our conclusion: any Plan “A” is superior to every Plan “B.”

We feel so strongly about this maxim, we’ve created a t-shirt in its honor.

NOTE: If you don’t have a “Plan A,” go get a darn good one.  With a solid plan, karmic forces will line up behind you and see that you have good luck on your side. We’re with you.

Is rushing out to buy a closet full of face masks really the best way to confront your fear of catching the deadly COVID-19?

We think not.

For one thing, masks are really intended for those doing the spreading of disease, not those who are trying to avoid it. They offer little guarantee of preventing the illness due to the size of the microbes that can penetrate the mask (not to mention people’s habit of removing the masks to touch, scratch, and poke at their face).

But perhaps most important, these masks make you look like you’re already on your way to the hospital — or worse. Just by putting one on, you’re admitting you’re scared to death of getting sick. This fear and stress is a real turn-off to your immune system, and can cause you to be more susceptible to catching the virus, not less!

For a SuperOptimist, a face mask is not the weapon of choice for confronting the coronavirus. Facing a pandemic we have no control over, we recommend confronting it head on — by wearing the helmet of your choice.*

Whether it be Roman Gladiator, Viking, vintage leather football, World War II infantry, or standard construction model, sporting a good, solid helmet at all times makes it clear to the world that a deadly virus will not intimidate you, no siree. A helmet says you’re not to be messed with by airborne particles (or anything else, for that matter).

Not only that, the confidence you’ll exhibit wearing a helmet will have your colleagues at work taking a step back in order to let you pass. That’s a good thing, as the farther they are away from you, the less likely you’ll pick up their germs. Plus if you live in an urban environment, a helmet will protect you from falling debris from construction sites, of which there are many.

So rather than quarantine yourself in public behind a surgical mask, we advise you to wash your hands frequently, avoid close contact with sick people, and grab yourself a helmet.  Now get out there and show those microbes of malfeasance who’s boss!

*While we subscribe to time-honored holistic methods of healthcare, we are not licensed physicians. Ask your doctor if SuperOptimism is right for you.

 

As Babe Ruth said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”  He never let the naysayers prevent him from approaching the plate with a swagger and a smile.  Yet plenty of people wanted to see him fail, and fail he did.  Not only was the Babe called the “Sultan of Swat,” he was also known as the “King of Strikeouts.” In fact, he led the American League in whiffs five times, and accumulated 1,330 of them in his career. If he had been afraid of getting beaten at the plate, he never would have launched 714 dingers over the outfield fence.  So take a tip from the Big Bambino; dare to fail, and laugh about it when you do.  Then get back in the batter’s box and see what happens next!