Discover What You Fear

Stress is fear. Anxiety is fear. If you feel stress or anxiety when taking exams or preparing for exams, it’s because you are afraid of something. Before we can address your fear, we must first discover what you fear. Please record your answers to the following questions in an organized way so you can refer back to your answers later in this course. The important answers are the ones that trigger fear, tension, unworthiness, shame, unsafety, or pain when you think about them.

Identify your physical desires:

  1. What score do you want on this exam?
    • Do you want to score 100%, 90%, 80%, or at least 70%?
  2. What do you hope will physically happen in the short-term if you get the exam score you desire?
    • Do you hope to get a good grade in the class, get into your preferred graduate school, get a specific job, or work at a certain company?
  3. What do you hope to physically achieve in the long-term if you get the desired exam score? 
    • Do you want success, wealth, to be a CEO, to be an entrepreneur, a big accomplishment, to have physical freedom to travel, or to retire early? 
  4. How do you hope others will treat you if you achieve what you want?
    • Do you want others to treat you with respect, give you attention, give you affection, smile at you, listen to you, want to be friends with you, or want to date you?
  5. What do you want others to think of you as?
    • Do you want people to think you’re amazing, great, smart, committed, a hard worker, ambitious, or successful? Do you want people to be proud of you, love you, or like you? 
  6. Who do you want to think of you this way?
    • Do you want this from your mom, dad, grandparents, friends, potential friends, co-workers, classmates, potential lovers, beautiful people, smart people, successful people, popular people, or from some other specific person?

Identify your mental and emotional desires:

  1. What do you hope to feel like if you get what you want (achievements and others’ treatment)?
    • Do you want to feel relaxed, fulfilled, happy, content, free, confident, powerful, good enough, loved, included, safe, whole, or respected?
  2. What do you hope to think about yourself if you get what you want (achievements and others’ treatment)?
    • Would you like to think “I’m great”, “I did it”, “I am a success”, “I’m smart”, “I’m wonderful”, “I’m good enough”, “I’m special”, “I’m lovable”, “I’m superior”, “I can do anything”, or “I’m the best”?

Identify what you physically fear:

  1. What score are you afraid to get?
    • Are you afraid to get a less than perfect grade, a grade worse than last time, a grade worse than your peers, lower than 95%, lower than 85%, or lower than 75%?
  2. What are you afraid will happen in the short-term if you get the exam score you fear?
    • Are you afraid you will not get the perfect grade in your class, you will get a low grade, you won’t get a job at your favorite company, you won’t get into your top choice graduate school, you won’t get into any graduate school, you won’t get any job, you will be forced to work in a job you hate, or you won’t have any money?
  3. What are you afraid will happen in the long-term if you get the exam score you fear?
    • Are you afraid to not be incredibly successful, to be poor, to be trapped in a job you hate, to be stuck, to be a failure, to be less successful than your friends, to be less successful than your parents, to have a normal amount of success, to make a normal amount of money, to not accomplish anything big in your life?
  4. What are you afraid others will say, think, or do to you if you fail in the short-term or long-term? 
    • Are you afraid that people won’t like you, won’t want to be friends with you, won’t want to date you, won’t want to marry you, won’t be proud of you, will be disappointed with you, will treat you harshly, will think your stupid, will view you as a failure, will look down on you, will be upset with you, or will treat you unkindly?
  5. Who are you afraid will treat you this way?
    • Are you afraid you will be treated this way by your mom, dad, grandparents, current friends, old friends, potential friends, co-workers, potential lovers, classmates, beautiful people, smart people, successful people, or popular people?

Identify what you mentally and emotionally fear:

  1. What are you afraid to feel if the scenario you fear were to happen?
    • Are you afraid to feel like a failure, inadequate, stupid, worthless, not good enough, scared, isolated, abandoned, lonely, rejected, inferior, defective, or trapped?
  2. What are you afraid to think about yourself if the feared scenario were to happen?
    • Are you afraid to think “I’m not special”, “I’m not smart”, “I’ll never be enough”, “I’m an idiot”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m worthless”, “I’m inferior”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m a loser”, “I’m normal”, “I’m always wrong”, “I can never do anything right”, “I can’t do it”, “I’m insufficient”, “I’m not perfect”, “I’m unlovable”, or “I don’t deserve love”.