Here, this is on the strength of 10% of the phrases that have come to me in letters since the beginning of this year (2021). Fear, self-doubt, fear of starting, disappointment, and disappointment – they unite thousands, tens of thousands of people. And I am very grateful to my readers that they found the strength, the time, and wrote to me. This article appeared solely thanks to you.
As it turned out, the topic is so topical and relevant that I decided to devote this large unscheduled article to it. I will describe the mechanics of the emergence of fear and show several proven psychotherapeutic ways to get rid of it. In a word, no banal a la “Pull yourself together and do it!” – only applicable and applied information to influence the root of the problem. Ready? Then sit back; I’m getting started!
Where do fear and uncertainty come from?
Before solving the problem, let’s look at the cause. I will tell you the mechanics briefly and in essence. However, if you want to learn more about fear, I highly recommend the book by the psychotherapist Andrei Kurpatov “Kill Illusions,” also known as “How to Change the Attitude to Life.” If this is not enough, and more techniques are needed, then there is another book. It’s called One Top Secret Pill Against Fear. The author is the same. In general, to be honest, psychotherapy and common sense are a vital help in the work of a copywriter: it helps in many aspects – both for itself, and for the customer, and the customer’s clients. However, let’s not get distracted and analyze the basis of fear.
Fear is a natural evolutionary mechanism that in animals in the wild is activated for a short time at the moment of danger to either run away or engage in a fight. Activates fear in the wild, the instinct of self-preservation. It has become relatively safe to live in a civilized society: no one will pounce around the corner and eat, and therefore the instinct of self-preservation, to put it mildly, was out of work.
But sitting without work is boring for him, and therefore he constantly looks for any potential dangers. Well, or just uncertainty – that’s fine too. From here, the legs grow from the fear of death, fear of getting sick or getting infected, fear of attack, fear of change (“What if…?”), And fear for the safety of family and friends. And even if the probability of getting sick is 0.01%, a person will still be afraid, especially if he reads horror stories on the Internet.
You may ask: what does copywriting and fear of self-doubt have to do with it? But at what. Any uncertainty breeds fear. If something wrong can happen, even hypothetically, the instinct of self-preservation will undoubtedly find this bad. And the person will be afraid. But this instinct alone does not end there. There are two more: the sexual instinct (the instinct of preserving a biological species) – it is not yet so attractive to us within the framework of this article – and the instinct of protecting a group (social instinct).
The latter, in conjunction with the instinct of self-preservation, gives rise to fears of “disgrace,” “not living up to expectations,” “losing face,” “failing,” “being condemned,” etc. But this is not the most exciting thing either. Furthermore.
Two hemispheres of the brain
As you know, a person has two cerebral hemispheres. The right one specializes in images and emotions, while the left specializes in logic, analysis, and rational reasoning. And everything would be fine if not for one problem. The right hemisphere is the first to receive information from the senses. When faced with uncertainty, it is frightening because, by its nature, it is emotional and not very smart but impressionable.
Further, the information goes to the left hemisphere. But here’s the bad luck: the left hemisphere is the driven one. It processes the knowledge that the right hemisphere, frightened by uncertainty, offers it. At the same time, the reliability of this information is not questioned (a feature of the human mental apparatus). The result is such a leapfrog.
A novice copywriter is going to find a customer. But he does not know whether he will solve the problem, whether he will meet expectations, whether he will be paid, whether he has enough knowledge and skills, etc. In short, it is faced with a massive stream of uncertainty variables. The right hemisphere of this uncertainty is frightened and conveys information to the left hemisphere. Instead of objectively looking at the situation, the left hemisphere begins to look for a logical rationale why the right hemisphere was correctly frightened. And he finds it. Typical arguments: little experience, little knowledge, too, all customers are maximalists, evil guys, and aunts.
They will instantly figure out incompetence and refuse to pay. And among them, there are scammers. Not only can they not pay, but they also use the work for free. Or, what good, they can say: “Your text is complete bullshit! Do not write again! And apologize to the trees. They have become the paper on which your mediocre opus is printed! “How much shame it will be! A blow to self-esteem from which you cannot recover!
Further, the result of these simple inferences is transmitted back to the right hemisphere. And if initially, he had just a fright, then this is where the real panic begins. Like a mad artist, the right hemisphere begins to paint sophisticated pictures of humiliation, ridicule, worthlessness, and complete incompetence, as a result – poverty, poverty, and loneliness. Particularly impressionable people immediately add themselves to the “blacklist” of customers, which means that no one will ever order any text from them, and you can safely put an end to your copywriter’s career. No one will demand anything from them – the left will explain to the right hemisphere in the future.
And so, passing information to each other, the hemispheres become more and more looped and convince the consciousness that, they say, there is nothing to stick out, and everything is just as good and stable. On the same exchange. Better to sit and not beep the best is the enemy of the good, etc. In a word, they do everything so as not to suffer and feel discomfort once again.
And here, one more important feature of the human psyche is already manifested, which is scientifically called “dynamic stereotype” or, more simply, a habit. The fact is that to save energy, the human brain creates templates for itself (those very dynamic stereotypes), and an attempt to go beyond these stereotypes causes significant discomfort. In the end, our brain does not like to strain once again and, therefore, will strive in every possible way to return to the familiar and familiar pattern.
All our fears and self-doubt are taken from uncertainty, the work of the brain’s two hemispheres, a dynamic stereotype. And this applies not only to fears in copywriting but to everyone else. Add to this the fears associated with the sexual instinct (to lose attractiveness, superiority, sexuality, etc.), and we get a complete set of neurotic. Fortunately, each person is dominated by only one instinct. Therefore, if you are a hypochondriac and are afraid of death, then the fear of losing face is not so relevant for you, and it is much easier for you to communicate with people and look for orders or launch your projects.
Now that we know where the legs of fear and self-doubt come from, it’s time to master the techniques of salvation.
A detrimental response to fear
Oh yes, there is another important phenomenon that you should be aware of. Remember, at the beginning of the article, I told you that when a living creature experiences fear, the brain (the so-called subcortex is responsible for this) convulsively begins to analyze what to do in such a situation: run or engage in a fight? So, when we run away from the factors that frighten us, it seems like it becomes easier to “Wow, it’s gone!“, But at the same time, it increases fear in the long run because it creates so-called positive reinforcement for a dynamic stereotype. In other words, we start to get used to being afraid. Let me show you a specific example.
Let’s say a copywriter is not confident in his abilities and is afraid to take on a large project (work of the right hemisphere). On the occasion of fear, he listens to his left hemisphere, which also diligently discourages him, but with logical arguments. As a result, he abandons the project with the thought, “It will be better!”. As a result, the person feels relief, but with each such ease, he increases his fear. And in the end, he just gets used to being afraid of new similar projects, although he could calmly close them and earn good money.
For the same reason, people are kept in tedious and low-paying jobs. “The best is the enemy of the good,” they convince themselves, not even noticing that they are following their fear. In other words, moral: the more we try to avoid self-doubt and run away from fear, the stronger the fear and uncertainty about the future. Habit, so her if so.
How to get rid of fear and overcome self-doubt?
Now let’s move on to solving the problem. Have you ever noticed that we are most often afraid of an uncertain future that has not yet arrived? And the longer we are scared of him, the stronger the fear—the dialogue of the two hemispheres effects, which need time to wind up each other. And for a visual demonstration, let’s simulate the situation.
Imagine that you need to talk to a significant person on a vital project or go through some kind of diagnostic procedure. And here there are two options: In the first case, you are confronted with the fact that you need to talk or do right now. Second, you have to wait all day because the event is scheduled for the evening. Have you presented? The procedure or the person is the same. You are the same person, but depending on the time, the attitude will be radically different.
If you need to do something right away, then you do not have time to get scared, but just take it and solve the problem because of no time. And if you need to wait, you become a hostage of communication between the two hemispheres, which wind up with doubts and fears from the series “What if …?”. In other words, you are trapped in an illusion. And here we come to one critical thought:
Fears are illusions
As we have already said to you, fear is the brain’s reaction to the uncertainty of the future. But here’s the bad luck: there is still no future. And what it will be – no one knows. Those. We are a priori afraid of what does not exist. That is, we are so scared of illusions. And their own, invented. The client may not like the text. Well, let’s say it can. And maybe you will like it. And there is an infinite number of other intermediate options. And we are afraid of one thing. And the likelihood of the occurrence of such an option tends to zero. Those. With a 99.99% probability, things will be different. Not the way we fear it.
In addition, if everything happened the way we are afraid of, and there are about 6 billion people in this world who are afraid, then it turns out that everyone would be soothsayers and clairvoyants. But you will not find such among us in the daytime with fire. This proves that we can only assume our future, but in reality, it will be completely different. A logical question arises: what is the point then they are afraid of what will not happen?
Of course, here you can say, they say, Devansh, with the mind, all this is clear, but after all, we are all human, and besides the reason, there are still emotions, but you cannot order them. So I have prepared a dozen techniques for you to deal with fear and insecurity. Most of them, I repeat, are taken from the books by Andrey Kurpatov and Mikhail Litvak. Therefore, if you want more information, I highly recommend these two authors. Here is just a squeeze through the prism of my experience, adapted to copywriting.
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Fear Technique #1: Realize Illusion
If you constantly run away from fear, then it intensifies. We found it out. But if you look at the situation broadly, you will notice that we are afraid of our fantasies and illusions from different angles. Awareness of this fact reduces the degree of fear and uncertainty at times.
For example, I am afraid that the customer will wrap up my work and accuse me of being incompetent. At the same time, the customer himself does not even know about this yet, and a priori is not going to wrap anything up, let alone insult me. I made it all up (thanks to the right and left hemispheres), which means there is only one risk: even if the client drops a neutral phrase: “I didn’t like one moment here,” I immediately start to panic because the hemispheres will decipher this phrase something like this: “The work is bullshit, I don’t like everything, return the money!“.
But in reality, the customer did not mean anything like that. And in fact, it turns out that our fear distorts our perception of reality. Therefore, the first thing to do is look more broadly at the situation and honestly answer the question: are we afraid of what is happening now, or are we afraid of our fantasies, of something that does not yet exist? If fantasies, this is an illusion, which means that you can not be scared of it. It has nothing to do with reality. It’s like watching a horror movie in your head.
Anxiety Trick #2: Don’t look into the future
The future (the factor of fear and uncertainty) does not yet exist, and the past (the element of doubt and anxiety) is no longer there. And the future will come anyway, regardless of whether we are afraid of it or not. And it will reach the way it should be, and not the way we fear it.
Therefore, it is much better and more productive to focus on the present, what you can do here and now, and what resources you can use. Many people are so carried away by their experiences about the future that they completely ignore the opportunities that the present gives them (profitable decisions, deals, projects, etc.). And now, this is already contrary to common sense. In the end, it is foolish to be afraid of what is not and miss out on what is.
Fear Method #3: Project One Step Forward
There were many unpleasant moments in my early career. Some dissatisfied customers swore and demanded to return the prepayment. Then it seemed to be the end of the world, a disaster. It was very unpleasant. And at that moment, I wanted to sink into the ground. But after a couple of days, everything went away. Yes, some sediment remained, but the end of the world did not come. Heaven didn’t fall to earth. Everything returned to normal. The work was going on, the experience was accumulating, new clients came, and new projects appeared.
I mean, in most cases, what we are afraid of is greatly exaggerated. Well, let’s say the client doesn’t like the text. Or the client will display a categorical “No!” To your offer. So what? End of the world? Finita? Are the credits off? Not. Yes, we were afraid of that and guessed it. It happens. What’s next? Will an apocalypse happen? Not.
Everything will go on as usual. In the way of business, in the regular course of work. In addition, the text can always be modified, and if you create it in modules, according to the “puff pie” principle, then the client cannot dislike the entire text in direction—only some part of it.
Therefore, when you feel insecure or afraid of something, try to project the situation not at the very moment you are so scared of but at a step after it. What will you do when what you fear happens? Then fear will turn into a plan of action, and the brain will come out of the vicious circle of anxiety, and you will immediately feel better.
Imagine that you are afraid to write or call a client directly because he may refuse you. And you are scared of rejection because it will inevitably hit your self-esteem. Try to imagine that the client has already turned you down. Then the next one also refused. And so ten times in a row. Now you have nothing more to lose. One more – one less – not much difference. This immediately brings relief because the brain cannot be afraid of what has already happened. In addition, the refusal itself is also reasonable because You get valuable feedback and learn to find the person’s values. It costs a lot.
Fear Principle #4: Accept the inevitable
Look at your life now. And remember the troubles that happened to you. At the same time, please note that the primary, large-scale troubles that happened to you always came, as a rule, unexpectedly. And from where you did not expect them at all. And regardless of whether you were afraid of them or not. And when they came, there was no time to be frightened; they turned into tasks that had to be urgently solved.
Therefore, there is no point in being afraid of the inevitability. What should happen – and so it will happen. It just needs to be accepted. On this occasion, there is an excellent phrase: “We find our destiny on the path that we choose to get away from it.” And instead of being afraid, it is much easier and better to switch to solving urgent problems – there will be more benefits. In the end, fears live only in the head, and we form reality only by our actions.
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Coping With Fear Trick #5: Remembering subjectivity
Psychotherapist Andrei Kurpatov tells a story in one of his books, which, in turn, are described by professors of medical universities to their students.
“During my student years, I was in love with a girl. We studied with her on the same course. But she did not love me but loved my friend and classmate. As a result, they had an affair, and I was left with a nose. The topic of today’s lecture: clinical manifestations of syphilis .”
Why is this story? And besides, sometimes what seems to us to be a natural disaster and a nuisance plays into our hands and, in the long term, on the contrary, turns out to be good luck.
As I said, I have had many unpleasant moments in my career. And in life in general. However, I think, like every person. But it was these moments that ultimately made me who I am. Some of them tempered, some forced to carry out thorough work on mistakes, some motivated and formed the right priorities. There were those that, as I thought, was a disaster for me but, in the long run, turned out to be, on the contrary, luck. And great luck. So… If the bride went to another – it is still unknown who was lucky. The same applies to clients.
Uncertainty Trick #6: Push back for later
In the movie “Gone with the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara utters the legendary phrase: “I’ll think about it tomorrow .” The term is short but very accurate. First, it shows that there is no point in worrying about a future that has not yet arrived. Especially when there are so many other important things around. And secondly, there is another very curious psychological trick hidden in it.
When you are not sure of yourself or afraid of something, the worries aside for later, for example, Tomorrow those tell yourself that, I’ll worry about it, but tomorrow. Then the brain will turn anxiety into a scheduled task and stop looping. Do you know what the power of tomorrow is? It never comes for the brain. For him, there is only today and only now. This is a straightforward yet effective trick.
Dealing With Fear #7: Get Distracted by Business
Let’s say you are afraid to take on a commercial text because you are not sure that you can meet the customer’s expectations and solve the problem. Either you are worried that the age is not the same or, on the contrary, there is too little experience, both life and professional.
We have already found out that these are fantasies in the head, and here there are two options: either to follow the fantasies and do nothing or switch to work and start changing the situation with actions. After all, thoughts alone cannot help matters.
In the first case, we get lovely nothing and a shattered nervous system. This is natural: when we do nothing, the brain has much free time for the right and left hemispheres to communicate with each other in detail and find out that it is better not to do anything and have their fill. In the second case, you get the result. Whatever it is. Moreover, you gain experience and, if this experience is positive, then you increase your self-esteem and receive an influx of motivation. If negative, then you immediately raise your professional level.
In other words, switching to action is a winning combination for you anyway, and dwelling on fears and insecurities is the greatest of evils. The choice is apparent here. Take Thomas Edison as an example. It took him about 10,000 unsuccessful attempts to create a light bulb. And let’s be honest: there are hardly any people capable of repeating this record of failures.
Overcome Fear Trick #8: Face reality
We are often so immersed in our fantasies and experiences that we do not notice what is happening around us: the sun is shining, the birds are singing – and in our souls, cats are scratching only because we are not confident in our soul’s abilities. Are you sure it’s worth it? Or in life, in your real life, are there much more important things than meeting the expectations of customers or audience? For example, health – yours and family and friends – or the work of your whole life, which you do for yourself.
For example, I wrote this article for about a week. And I know for sure that there will be people who will not like it. You can’t be nice to everyone. But I also know that there are people who need this article. And if she helps at least one person, then I have not worked in vain.
But even if the article turns out to be completely useless (hypothetically), well, I’ll just accept reality and continue to do what I did. After all, we are all human, and we can all be wrong. There are no ideal ones.
Uncertainty Technique #9: Social Proof
You are not alone. Besides you, there are thousands of people who find themselves in similar situations every day. And somehow, they come out. They, for sure, are also scared; they also have their illusions. And they have a lot to lose. But no one has yet died of misconceptions. There were always some solutions. Yes, sometimes these decisions were not the most successful, but you can still find out only by choosing and performing some action. And millions of people make choices and do something every day. Someone succeeds right away; someone does not.
But that’s not all. All specialists were once newcomers. Everything. And everyone made mistakes. And that’s okay; it’s a natural learning process. And when you do not hide the fact that you are a beginner specialist, it evokes much more confidence than the layman hiding behind grandiloquent phrases. As I said, we are all human, and we can all be wrong. It’s silly to be afraid of mistakes and their consequences because nothing is perfect. Moreover, especially at the beginning of the journey, mistakes are faithful helpers that accelerate the acquisition of professional experience dozens of times.
In any case, it is much better to then talk about what you did and what did not work out or did not work out as planned than modestly keep silent about the fact that you were afraid all your life and therefore did nothing. You are not the first or the last person to find yourself in a particular situation. And there are always people whose condition is even worse at times worse or orders of magnitude. Therefore, from this technique, we immediately move on to the next.
Fear Technique #10: Stop feeling sorry for yourself
A very excellent way that helped me out more than once. If the instinct of self-preservation generates fear, then it inevitably recedes when we stop feeling sorry for ourselves. This technique is mainly used to eliminate the illusion of suffering, but it is also suitable for uncertainty and doubt. Another point: how to stop feeling sorry for yourself? After all, we are us, and self-love is a romance that lasts a lifetime. And here comes the technique called “Metacognition.” Its essence is as follows.
Imagine that there is a stranger in your situation. Tell me, will you worry and worry about him as well as about yourself? Unlikely. Moreover, most likely, you will not care about him. This is the basis of the principle of metacognition. Try to jump out of your body and look at yourself and your situation as if from the outside, in the role of an outside observer. Not only will you see the case from a completely different angle (and often this is more than enough to understand that the problem is not worth a damn), you will rethink the essence of your worries and fears. The trick is potent; just try it.
Method Number 11: crushing the situation
We feel fear and insecurity when we need to solve some complicated long-term problem. It directly presses with its massiveness. But this does not happen for small tasks. For example, the complex task of writing a commercial text can be broken down into smaller ones: turn on the computer, open a document, write the headline and first sentence, etc.
The same goes for communicating with clients. To get started, you can just dial the number or write a letter without sending it. Then sending is even easier. Moreover, many beginners believe that the text is an end in itself, and it does not change after delivery to the client. This is not true. After you have written the text, the main work begins on it, consisting of many small stages. And there is no point in being afraid of them because they are not scary by themselves. Therefore, when you are so scared of something or feel insecure, break up the situation into small fragments (subtasks) and solve them slowly and consistently. They are familiar to you and not scary. So, step by step, you will solve a terrible and challenging problem without even noticing it.
Fear Technique #12: Total Ignore
Fear exists and intensifies only when we dwell on it or do something to escape from it. If we behave as if there is no fear at a critical moment, then there is no positive reinforcement, and the anxiety decreases.
For example, you are afraid to start mastering real copywriting. Any reason. This is especially noticeable when you have already had a negative experience or heard about someone else’s negative experience – this makes the fear even more – and again, “thank you” to the left hemisphere. Let’s admit. And therefore, you cannot force yourself to write a letter to a potential client. Scary – already horror.
Imagine what you would do if you were not afraid and confident in your abilities? Would you write a letter? Did you do what you want and what you should? Here! That’s just it. Therefore, try to simulate a hypothetical situation, behave if there was no fear, and develop a new behavior strategy. When you act as if there is no fear, the fear goes away.
Fear and insecurity are normal. And this is common to all people. Abnormal is when fear stops us, prevents us from making our life better. Then it becomes a problem to be addressed. Alternatively, you can use one or more of the techniques described above.
At the same time, remember that always, in whatever situations you find yourself, you need to keep the focus on the main thing: and what is all this for? What are you living for? What brings you joy and makes you feel happy? When you remember this, when you know what you are doing, and for what purpose, you are more confident than ever. Remember that any marathon begins with the first step, but there is no future yet, and what it will be is unknown. One thing is sure: water does not flow under a lying stone, and you can only find out how and what works by performing some action. A wise man said: Replace uncertainty with adventure, and fear turns into an experience.
If I have not touched on something in this article – write in the comments, I will figure it out.
At the same time, Please note: alas, I am not a psychotherapist, so I can hardly help with difficult life situations. Well, as for copywriting and doubts, it’s always welcome. I think my mistakes and conclusions will be more than enough to make your trip more accessible and exciting. After all, it’s fun, even if it’s hard sometimes.
Yours sincerely, Devansh Pathak.