Here is an excerpt from my book “The Curse of Fear A Witchdoctor’s RX to Banishing Fear”.
We pick it up as George a fearful young man finally gets up enough courage to meet the Witchdoctor. The Witchdoctor is a man who has been referred to George to help him with his problem of being afraid. The Witchdoctor hangs out in a coffee house call the The Jungle. We pick it as George approaches his table.
“Are… Are you the Witch Doctor?” He stutters in timid voice, “Can you help me?”
The Witch Doctor eyed him up and down in an unnerving fashion. He motions for George to sit down without a sound.
George slides onto the chair full of apprehension. It’s as though he is trapped as an animal that realizes there is no escape.
“So you are the Witch Doctor? Kind of a funny name, do you have a real name?”
The Witch Doctor says “What do you want?” in a kind, yet firm, voice.
“All my life I have been afraid, afraid of being rejected, afraid of being hurt by others,” shares George,” I decided that it would be better to be alone and safe, rather than risk the hurt.”
“How is that going for you?” asked the Witch Doctor with a smile.
“Terrible now I’m alone and afraid, I can barely make it to work,” laments George. “I dread meetings; I abhor having to deal with customers. I can barely function. I am good at what I do, but I don’t know how much longer I can make it at my job. I have no social life, I’m a wreck. It’s just so frustrating. What do I do?”
The Witch Doctor stares at him and repeats, “What do you want?”
“I told you already, I need help,” said George.
“No, you told me your problem,” replies the Witch Doctor, “I still have no idea what you really want.”
“What do you mean?“ questions George.
“You told me you are afraid and you seem to be good at it,” says the Witch Doctor. “Do you want to learn to be better at being afraid? Or perhaps to be selectively afraid? I know, how about learn to teach being afraid classes to others, and charge them a fee. How to be afraid in 10 easy steps.”
“No, no, no, I don’t want to be more afraid, I want to be less afraid,” exclaims George.
“How much less,” inquires the Witch Doctor, “10%? 20%? 50%?”
“I guess any of those would help,” replies George.
“Ok, so what would being 50% less afraid look like?” asks the Witch Doctor. “Create that picture in your mind and describe it to me.”
George thinks what would being 50% less afraid be like? I would be braver, but what would that be? Arrr, this is impossible.
“I don’t know, I can’t imagine choosing which things I can be afraid of and which things not to be afraid of,” confides George, “I’m just afraid.”
The Witch Doctor smiles shaking his head up and down. “Precisely, you get what you focus on.”
“What do you mean?” George replies somewhat taken back.
The Witch Doctor turns to him and says, ”It is a law of life that you get whatever you intensely focus on. You have spent your life focusing on fear. To have less fear is still focusing on fear and it only brings you fear. By focusing on fear, fear magnifies itself and consumes your life. Cutting your fear by half won’t work because you are still focusing on the fear. You get what you focus on. Do you understand?
“That seems to make sense, but how does that get rid of my fear?” quipped George.
“There you go again, focusing on fear,” replied the Witch Doctor. “The way to deal with fear is to focus on something else. So again the question is... What do you really want?”
“I don’t want to be afraid,” says George.
“Try again, you are still focusing on the afraid,” calmly replies the Witch Doctor.
“Ok, um, I want to be braver?“ says George hesitantly.
“A little better but where is the focus?” asks the Witch Doctor. “Braver, meaning afraid but less? What does braver look like? What will your life look like when you get it? Describe your ideal life to me.”
“Well,” starts George slowly, “I would have a job I enjoy. I would have a girlfriend, and friends, and I could go out in public without breaking down. I would be making a difference. I would feel good!
“Isn’t that better to focus on?” asked the Witch Doctor. “Is that really what you want?”
George stops and thinks for a minute. Hmmm, maybe this Witch Doctor is more than he seems, but do I really want to do this? Can he really help me succeed? What am I getting myself into here? What is he going to do to me? In all the times I tried to change, it has never helped. I always fail.
“It’s back!” exclaimed the Witch Doctor. “The fear is back.”
“What do you mean?” asks George.
“It’s written all over your body,” explains the Witch Doctor, “for a moment there you had some hope and then you tense up and retreated into your safe cave of fear. Changing your life involves changing the way you think and what you do. Are you up for that?”
“Ok, “replies George with a hint of apprehension, “where do I start?”
The Witch Doctor replies, “We have already started. Admitting that you need help and being willing to learn is the first step. What do I call you?”
“My name is George.”
George can only see things in terms of fear. He can’t even explain what he wants except in terms of fear. He says thing like he wants to be less afraid, or braver. The problem is is focus on fear.
The Witchdoctor helps him out be focusing on what he really wants and this begins their journey together.