Overcoming Fear and Backing Into Happiness ― Insights Inspired By Dave Rossi (Breather Show with Brad)


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By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Four-time podcast guest Dave Rossi has a unique approach to spirituality and happiness that leaves a lasting impact.

Enjoy our previous shows (like the episode about his book, The Imperative Habit, and Overcoming Fear and Anxiety With Values and Vision) and this Breather show about dealing with fear by using a methodical and effective process. Dave also puts an interesting spin on happiness by urging us to view happiness as our default state once we eliminate all the things that make us unhappy. Hint: most of them are ruminations in the mind about the past or the future!

This episode walks you through the four steps you can take in order to truly overcome fear and anxiety. And the way Dave frames things that we too often deem as negative, like failure, will open your eyes to a whole new perspective, which helps when making adjustments to the way we handle negative emotions.

The first step when you’re feeling anxious, scared, or anything unpleasant, is to Stop. First, become aware of what emotion and feeling that you are feeling. If it is fear, then call it out. Say, “I am afraid that…” Consciousness is not acting happy, so we can feel happy when we can act happy. Instead, Dave says it’s like, “Shining a flashlight on the deep dark parts of our fears and vulnerabilities and touching them, seeing them, exposing them, and shining them with light so we can feel great all the time.”

It’s important to get the difference between the two I know I’ve definitely been that overly positive guy that essentially is in denial then! And it needs to be said that it is ok to have fear. It’s normal, we all experience it, but the issue that arises out of fear a lot of the time is that you have to decide what to do with it. And acting on any emotion is not advisable certainly not fear. “Fear inhibits clarity, full stop.”

The next step is to Process: Where is the fear coming from? Danger? Fear of loss, fear of results, fear of failure? Processing the emotion usually leads back to either a belief, or ego. Dave says, “Using intelligence and thoughts, reason to find solutions to the issues without fear. This will give us greater intelligence and great power to choose.” I love this point of Dave’s because overcoming fears of failure happened to me by both working hard AND smart.

I think of my son now: a college grad, out in the real world now….and real life is scary and discouraging. But if you turn to your values and vision, as Rossi says, you can take action by applying some of that mindset training to envision your path clearly. And that is when you give yourself your best shot.

“Tell yourself you need to make the analysis and choice without the fear, but understand the issues surrounding the initial feeling. Dealing with fear is facing the things you need to do, to make something work,” Dave says. “Doubting your ability can be real, more real if you doubt it without fear and without ego. Then you can objectively assess your abilities - not your abilities fogged by fear or ego.”

The next step is to Decide: “Decide authentically, with a feeling of love and joy for the task. Decide without fear.” To do that, the key is realizing that any outcome is the outcome that it is supposed to be. We have much less control in our lives than we think we do. Here, Dave uses the example trying to parent your kid into being a “success.” I love this reflection because kids really are on their own path from a very young age, and your job as a parent is unconditional love and support. Like being the caddy to a golfer! You can give advice, but don’t overly orchestrate things, and don’t try to shield them from struggling and failure. There’s so much to be learned there. Dave says failure is supposed to teach us something. That it’s a growing experience. And if a venture fails, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Dave says, “Failure is not good or bad, we only think it is bad.”

We all know this is true, it’s just hard to swallow. Can you reference any times in life where failure led to something greater? I’ve written about my failed college running, and I’ve also noticed lots of divorce happening in recent years including myself. You have to see it is a good and necessary and worthwhile run, instead of a failure…..but, use intelligence and thoughts to plot your future.

Jordan Peterson says that the reason we have memory is so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. Re-framing it this way is to think that nothing is actually a failure, but a lesson. John Wooden said: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

And the final step: Happiness. Choose knowing you can fail, but because you want it and love trying it. Not for money or success, but because it’s the right thing to do. And it is also the highest expression of your passions and talents. But….when we get old, we have more responsibility and the stakes are higher. Or are they? We only think they are. We all deserve the clarity and freedom of the young athlete who quit his accounting job and became an athlete. Choose happiness!


To get rid of that state of fear and anxiety, the first step is to slow down and acknowledge what you are feeling. [02:23]

The next step is to process it using intelligence and thought. [04:47]

Decide authentically with the feeling of love and joy for the task. Brad applies this to parenting. [09:25]

If we fail, the failure is supposed to teach us something and thus become a growth experience. [11:43]

The reason humans have memory is not for nostalgia, it’s so don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. [15:27]

Get all the stuff that makes you unhappy out of the way, and you’re left with happiness! [16:01]


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313 episodes