How To Combat Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt

FUD or Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt are 3 very notorious demotivators that that sometimes work in tandem to stop people moving on their big goals to change their lives. If you want to change so you can live the life of your dreams you’ve got to learn to overcome FUD. Here’s why…

FUD is keeping you rooted in your comfort zones that are really not comfortable – zones that are really not where you want to be!

FUD also fires your self-limiting beliefs. It’s easy to say “I can’t do this or achieve this and that” because then you won’t have to try – and maybe fail?

FUD causes you to fear failure – where you shouldn’t. FUD kills persistence.

FUD wants you to stay “fat, dump, and happy” in your mediocrity.

If you’ve failed before in any endeavor, it’s likely you have FUD to blame. Now you fear even to try… because you could fail again.

This is what Sir Winston Churchill said about success and failure:

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm” ~ Winston Churchill

Here’s how to combat fear, uncertainty and doubt…

I was reading a book last night by Dr. Murray Banks, a psychologist during the 1960s who made a living out of giving popular talks on the lecture circuit. The book is long out of print – I happened across a copy of it when an customer put one up for sale, and sent me a note about it. $5 later, I’ve got the book. The book is full of Banks’ famous humor lines, (“our cows aren’t contented; they’re working to do better”) some of which haven’t aged well, but it also contains some interesting insights into human nature. One of those insights was about the things that make people refuse to act, even when action would be in their own best interest. What is it? Our old friend FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

I found his insights to be quite interesting. As an observer of human nature, I’ve always been amazed at how many people actively work against their own best interests. I’ve watched how the lives of my friends and myself have been harmed by this nature — to avoid doing taking the correct course of action, because of an  almost paralysis against taking that all-important first step.

I believe that wisdom is formed by experience, knowledge, and introspection. We can have the one or two of these, but without the third, we don’t really gain wisdom. Whatever wisdom I have gained over the years has taught me that often, I have to push myself into moving on items where the FUD factor is high.

What kinds of high-FUD items would this be? For a salesperson, it may be fear of being rejected by a customer. That fear might be grounded in the fears of adolescence, where a young man or woman worries about being spurned by a prospective date. It may be grounded in the past, where a customer turned away from buying your product. It may be grounded in the present, where a family member may spurn your love.

For an overweight person, that high-FUD item may be the fear of failing a diet: that fear may stop the person from even trying to watch their eating. For a person stuck in a non-satisfying job, high levels of FUD may mean that a desired career move may never happen. This person will continually think, “The devil we see is better than the devil we don’t see.”

Give in to FUD, and all of a sudden, the shadows under your bed turn into monsters, every passerby is an enemy, and the future becomes a terrifying experience.

Fortunately though, there’s an easy remedy to Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Rather than giving in to the FUD factor, we need to give in to the GUTS factor.

It’d be nice if I had a nice little set of words that “GUTS” could go with, making it into an acronym like SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) or RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging), but I don’t. Guts means just what it sounds like — having the internal drive and desire to get going, while all around you are sitting still.

Guts means getting up in the morning and going to work, even when your mind is telling you to call in sick. It means learning how to speak before a crowd, even though you’re terrified of public speaking. It means balancing your checkbook, even though you don’t have much money left in it. It means actively working for the future, even though your present life may be uncertain.

If you’ve got guts, you do something that you’re afraid of, because it has to be done. You actively seek truth, to eliminate your uncertainty. You seek information, so you can make your doubts vanish.

In the final analysis, having guts means to act, even when your stomach says “stay put.”

A currently-running ad for a car company shows a groom trying to decide whether to get married. The ad shows him alternately driving to the church and fleeing from the church, and finishes with him hitting his head against the plastic door panels of his new car. I don’t know how well it sells cars, but it succinctly shows the difference between FUD and Guts. Anybody who remembers their wedding day (some people block it out, others were intoxicated at the time) is likely to remember the FUD they may have felt, leading up to the wedding. Most of us had the Guts to go through with the wedding. A few let the FUD overtake them, and never show up for the ceremony.

Firefighters, police, and military members are taught to manage their FUD, never letting it overtake them in a dangerous circumstance. It’s something that we can learn for our everyday lives.

So that brings us to our rule for today: No matter how much FUD you feel, you can manage it, get through it, and put it behind you if you remember one key: You have the guts to get going.

We all have our bad days, and I have the occasional bad day were all I want to do in the morning is to lay back on the bed and stare at the ceiling. Obviously, that’s not a good thing to do with the rest of my life. Before too long, the little voice inside of me takes charge, and with one phrase: “Get going, Daryl”, I get off the bed, turn off the light, and get on with the day.

You probably don’t stare at the light on the ceiling, but you likely have your own avoidance behaviors: solitaire, FreeCell, pinball, talking by the water cooler, reading the newspaper, or answering e-mail are all well-worn avoidance behaviors.

Whatever it is, your FUD Factor can be instantly reduced by just saying to yourself, “get going.”

You have the Guts to get going and overcome FUD. You don’t have to have the Guts of a John Wayne-style character. You just have to have the Guts to believe that you can do it, FUD and all.


Adapted from an article originally published by Daryl Gibson for

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