The Hidden Cost of Listening to Your Fears

August 26th, 2016 by Nick Notas 10 Comments

Being scared often stops us from taking action to get what we want out of life.

We don’t introduce ourselves to a new girl. We don’t send out resumes to get a better job. We don’t have that awkward talk with our partners about needing alone time.

We put those things off and tell ourselves, “well, I can always try again later.”

That’s all fine….if you actually try again later.

But what if “later” takes too long? What if later actually becomes NEVER?

When you don’t go after what you want in the moment, you’re only thinking about the short-term protection of yourself. You get to avoid any pain, embarrassment, or rejection.

What you don’t realize is that you’re trading in short-term comfort for long-term misery. It’s hard to comprehend, but believe me, the hidden cost of listening to your fears is more significant than you could ever imagine.

Mo fears mo problems

When you avoid doing things that scare you, it has a snowball effect on your life. Let me paint you a bleak picture…

Maybe most of the girls you’ve dated have been through school or friends. They always seemed to be the women that picked you, not the other way around. And you never seemed to end up with the women you really wanted.

Nowadays, you still don’t introduce yourself to attractive women you see in your daily life. It’s just too terrifying in that one, single moment.

As time passes, you get older and more lonely. You keep beating yourself up for all the opportunities you’ve missed. You convince yourself you’re a shy loser that no high quality woman could ever want. They’d be “out of your league”.

Eventually, a girl shows you some interest.

The problem is, she’s not what you’re truly looking for.

Maybe you two don’t share a lot of the same values. Or she doesn’t intellectually stimulate you. Or you’re not that physically attracted to her. Maybe she doesn’t fully respect you or know how to express herself in healthy ways.

But in the end, you’re desperate and she’s available. You think she’s your only chance at being a couple and it’s better than being alone. So you settle.

You get married. You buy a house. You have a couple of kids.

The whole time, you’re not really happy.

That unfulfillment shows in the way you communicate with one another. You’re often tense and serious. You’re snippy. Warmth and playfulness are absent.

You’re always thinking in the back of your mind about something better. About what could have been if you had pursued a girl you wanted.

You’re resentful because she doesn’t satisfy you as a real partner. You become detached and dejected. You use substances to cope.

Your sex life dwindles. You’ve stopped trying as hard as a partner and she’s hardly ever in the mood. Your lack of fun together and her lack of sexual appeal to you makes you unenthusiastic about having sex.

You use porn to cope. When that isn’t enough, you fantasize about affairs (or have one).

You two fight often and your kids see it. Your children’s perception of your relationship with each other shapes the way THEY will act with THEIR future partners.

You get caught cheating or your kids eventually become adults and move out of the house. The midlife crisis sets in.

You file for divorce. You spend years in court, thousands on legal fees, and all of your emotional well-being.

And guess what? You’re back in the same position you started in: trying to meet someone that makes you happy. Instead you’re 20 years older, filled with regret about wasting your good years, and confused in a cold, new world.

You’ve endured decades of pain because you were too scared to spend 30 seconds to say “hi” to an interesting woman.

Does this sound far-fetched? I’ve heard variations of this story from countless men coming out of long-term relationships and marriages.

Indulging in fear affects everything

Each example below is a situation where you let fear govern your actions (or lack thereof). Their consequences can range from damaging to permanently destructive.

You don’t convey how a physically healthy partner is a top priority to you early on. You end up with a girl who doesn’t take care of herself and that you’re less attracted to.

You stay in a job where you are not valued. You struggle more with less pay. Your day-to-day is stressful and takes a toll on your personal relationships. You don’t have the money to give your kids the life you think they deserve.

You don’t kiss the girl you like on a date even though you want to. She’s been waiting for you to make a move. Because you don’t, she feels rejected and goes on a date with another guy. They hit off and she forgets about you.

You don’t break up with a girl who you know isn’t right for you. She wants a long-term relationship and you secretly don’t — at least not with her. You’re afraid of hurting her.

So you put it off for months. She becomes more invested in the connection. She falls in love. You begin to feel like you’re in too deep and aren’t getting the romantic life you want.

You break it off and cause her much more pain than if you had just done it sooner. She’s devastated. You feel like an asshole for leading her on. You wasted her time and now she has to start all over. She develops emotional baggage and compares future men to you.

You have a fight with a family member/close friend and you’re nervous about being the first one to reach out to apologize. So you just let your separation go on for months or years.

You both miss out on important experiences in each other’s lives. You lose opportunities to make incredible memories together. You don’t build as deep of a connection as you could. You feel like you don’t have people who care enough or know enough about you.

When you’re not taking action to create meaningful experiences or connections in your life, there are consequences unfolding behind the scenes….

Losing your best years. Living with that regret. Proving yourself helpless and weak (even though you’re strong and capable, you just refuse to see it by taking the chance). Settling for less in relationships. Enduring more stress and emotional pain. Exacerbating health problems. Crippling loneliness.

But there’s hope. You have the power to change that narrative.

Happiness is a series of choices

Letting your fears rule your actuons will always catch up with you.

The short-term relief you get from avoiding conflict or emotional pain provides a false sense of safety and comfort. You’re just delaying the inevitable and creating even more problems for yourself.

Now I get it, it’s not easy to turn off your fears. But you can start with small actions — really small. One day at a time — starting today.

Take some tiny hurdle you’ve been avoiding and begin there. Even if it’s as simple as getting out of your house for 15 minutes.

With each step towards action, you will develop more confidence in yourself through experience. You will feel more accomplished and motivated to continue on. Eventually, you’ll be taking more action than inaction and that will become your default path in this world.

You have to realize that taking action may cause temporary discomfort but it leads to greater happiness. And, it avoids SO much more pain — which is what you were trying to accomplish all along!

Listen to your wants, not your fears. You’ll avoid unnecessary costs and reap the rewards of life.

  1. Alex on August 26, 2016

    Never thought of myself as someone who lets fear rule their life. Damn though that’s story hit me hard. I see my brother going down that same path.

    • Nick Notas on August 26, 2016

      Maybe it’s time to have a conversation with him if you haven’t already. That’s your room for action.

  2. Ted on August 26, 2016

    I lived my whole life scared of everything. I think it was from my mom. She was neurotic and took lots of anxiety medicine. I recently started saying yes to every opportunity and I’ve made more friends and met more girls in 2 months than all of college.

    • Nick Notas on August 26, 2016

      It’s incredible how quickly the world wants to get of your way and let you succeed if you just lead with action. Congrats on the new journey, keep it up!

  3. Mark on August 26, 2016

    That’s a nice piece Nick. Personally, I like fashionable and attractive fair skinned ladies for long term relationship. I befriended one recently who I would have loved to ask out but the challenge is that she is older than me in months. My fear is she might age faster than me. But looking at what I stand to lose if I don’t ask her out, I think I have to overcome my fears and insecurities by asking her out. Thanks for the post once again

  4. Dennis on August 26, 2016

    Now Nick you’re talking about me. Haha how timely you have emailed this article!

  5. Michael on August 26, 2016

    Nice one Nick. I struggled for many years and settled – relationships, work, friends…everything. When it got to the stage where I became shy and nervous to talk to a woman who came on to me I said ‘enough is enough!’ I used the pain and fear to drive me to take action and do the things that scare me every day – now I’m the selector when it comes to women, work, friendships…everything.

    My philosophy is if you’re not taking action you’re never going to grow.

    Thanks for sharing your gift.


  6. Alex on September 1, 2016

    Thanks, Nick! One of the best articles on that topic I’ve read so far. I have to admit that I felt caught somehow. It’s like you’ve watched every step of mine during my 22 years.

    I will probably just bookmark the article and reread it every time I feel like it’s not worth working on myself and on my dating skills. In order to not end up in a relationship I don’t want (or in no relationship at all) I really have to get under way… Right now I actually see myself exactly on that unhealthy way you mentioned in your text.

    However, thanks a lot! I really appreciate what you are doing here!

    • Juniorsman on September 15, 2016

      I am an introvert and twas difficult for me to make new friends.
      Your piece has urged me to overcome my fears and I am going to do just that.
      I am really grateful.

  7. Brennan on September 5, 2016

    Hey Nick, thanks for the write up man. Bookmarked to come back to this one at a later date. It feels great to let go of fear and emotional baggage and take more opportunities . As Elliott Hulse said, feel the fear and do it anyway!


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