This started as a quick reply to a question from a customer, and evolved into something I thought might benefit everyone. Enjoy!
Fear is crushing and killing you
How to overcome debilitating fear.
I believe fear exists in everyone unless they are a sociopath. Yet even then it may exist in the fear of being caught. The type of fear I will discuss isn’t the type of piss-your-pants fear like you see in a horror movie, though some of the same ideas can apply there too. I’m talking about phobic, crippling fears that keep us from taking risks and reaching goals. In actuality, it’s not so much the fear itself, but our response mechanisms to that fear. I have worked through some incredibly challenging parts of life and business. Fear has paralyzed my actions before, and every so often I catch it trying to do so again. The trick to understanding fear based response mechanisms is to first realize when they are even occurring. Most people don’t know what is holding them back or why. Once they come to the realization that they themselves are what is holding them back and understand why, they are able to move forward rapidly or they can choose a different path that removes that confrontation with fear.
VERY few people are able to discuss the true fears that hold them back. Those few are much quicker to recognize that they have put themselves in a “fear cage.” That is my term for a false sense of reality that we place ourselves in to feel safer and avoid any related stimuli created by a fear. Another way to look at it is limiting ourselves to a comfortable mediocrity. This is a natural, reflexive response for most people. It’s also the reason those people “can’t” do something or attain a goal. As with so many other things, it starts with seeing the bars on the cage. The next step, as with those many other things, is realizing that since you built the cage, you are the only one that can free you from it.
There are no do overs, no mulligans. Hell, we are all going to be dead someday. Make your choice to live your life the way you want to. Remember; if you have a shitty life, it was your choices and your decisions that created it. If you’re still alive, you have your chance to change it for the better. This is a long way of saying you must take responsibility for your life. Don’t accept it, don’t let someone hand it to you. Take it. It is YOURS to take.
I have worked up the following approach for fear based responses that hold me back from whatever goal or issue I am not able to deal with or accomplish. The approach below works for ME. It may not be as effective for YOU. Use it as a baseline, change as needed, salt for flavor. Or toss it entirely and do something else. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not sell anything related to these issues, I am not a therapist nor am a life coach or any other crap like that. (Ever see a life coach’s car and wonder how they can help others with their life issues and yet can make enough money to not drive a dinged up piece of shit with a damn door magnet selling their life help bs on it? Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are!)
Is there a fear based problem? If anything scares you or modifies your actions, the answer is probably in the affirmative. Just recognizing there is an issue is a big step. Rarely do we want to admit our fears or even know they exist. The symptoms maybe obvious to others yet completely shielded to us in order to keep us feeling safe or in the comfort of our fear cage where everything is status quo. From abusive relationships to horrible jobs to poor match performance and everything in between, learning to recognize fear based problems is as big as seeing the world in color after a life time of monochrome.
I know this isn’t fun stuff to kick around the mental gymnasium but when is your 8 tenths of a second? It could be today or 50 years from now. What you do with that unknown amount of time is up to you. Are you going to enjoy it or live in your cage?
WAYS TO IDENTIFY A FEAR BASED PROBLEM:
Use of keywords in normal conversation – would have, should have or could have done X. Bullshit. Why didn’t you do X? Listen to your reasons. If someone else said those reasons to you, would you call “bs?” Is that really why you didn’t, or were you afraid? Find that out and you won’t ever say those words again.
Avoidance of anything without a conscious, reasoned logical choice being made. Do you find yourself trying to change the topic when that subject comes up? Does it make you uncomfortable to go to the place or be near the person or object involved? Why?
Defensiveness of anything without a conscious, reasoned logical choice being made. Are you getting unreasonably defensive way too quickly? Perhaps you feel a little guilty because you capitulated to fear.
Aggressiveness towards anything without a conscious, reasoned logical choice being made. Sometimes aggression is the “fight” component of “fight or flight,” which are the two basic, fundamental responses to fear.
Rationalization of anything without a conscious, reasoned logical choice being made. When you rationalize why, would you except those rationalizations from someone else? We all have that one friend with no filter(if you don’t have that one friend, it’s because you’re that one friend). The one who will tell somebody what they think, consequences be damned. They’re the one that answers “yes” when their wife asks if the dress makes them look fat. What would that friend say when you give them the rationalizations?
The point is to get you to think about what you’re doing. Be honest in your appraisal. Does it sound a little hippy-dippy? Sure, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. You have to be honest and not bullshit yourself if you’re going to do this. Why did you really snap at somebody that brought up going to the gym? Is it because you’re tired, or did you get unreasonably aggressive because you’re afraid of the embarrassment you think you’ll experience?
Now that a fear based response has been identified, this is the process I use to root out the cause and concquer it.
Take out three pieces of paper and a pen or a pencil. Turn off all electronics, phones and isolate yourself for a few minutes, hours or however long it takes to work on your fear.
On your first piece of paper write down, draw or articulate in someway your random thoughts, ideas, behaviors, triggers – anything related to the issue in any pattern or order. This is your mental basket of all the related crap to a fear. Write the fear’s name or word down if you think you know what it is. You may come to find that it’s true base is something else as you are writing. This is your fear storming. Like brainstorming but different. Now when you believe you have everything down move to step two. Just remember you can jump back to step one any time you want.
Do an internal 3rd person facts based analysis of the situation and best/worst case outcomes. In English, this means take a step back and remove your personal pride and emotions from the equation. Treat everything you just wrote down as if it is about someone else. Now start thinking about the best and worst possible outcomes if this fear is addressed.
This starts with a very simple pro’s and con’s list. Take sheet 2 and write down your fear on one line at the top. If it takes more than one simple sentence you most likely don’t really know what the problem is and need to go work on sheet 1 more. When you can write it in one sentence or even just one word, then draw a line down the center of the page. Since we are human it is always easiest to write the negatives down first but since we ARE changing the way we do things in life, write the positives down in the first column and negatives in the second. Here are a couple of positives to focus on when you’re filling out the first column. This isn’t an all encompassing list, it’s just a couple ideas to help you jump start your positive thinking.
Will you be happier? Why? What does that do for you? Will you feel great because you accomplished a challenge that you didn’t know you were capable of? That is a REASON. That is a benefit. That is what you write down.
Will you be healthier? What does that do for you? (I will be able to see the sparkle in my grand kids eyes if I live longer. I will be ready for swimsuit season. I will see my toes while standing up and won’t need a mirror.)
Will you have less stress? How come? What would that feel like? (I will not have the stress of X hanging over my head anymore.)
From Feelings like more self confidence to real world financial items like a pay raise, write it down.
As human beings, we tend to focus on them, so I won’t go into great detail. Just be honest, and write down those potential negative outcomes and what they mean. Will you lose money? Will you feel shame at losing a match? Will you be embarrassed to go to the gym for the first time?
Spend some time analyzing the benefits until you have refined them and believe you truly understand what they are. Then do the same with the negatives or potential downsides. When you are finished, look at both lists critically and logically and validate or invalidate each item from a rational point of view. This is one of the toughest parts of the process. Removing your pride from the equation and being able to honestly assess each point. With out the courage required to be brutally honest with yourself, you can’t break out of the fear cage you’ve constructed.
I believe when you have finished that last process, you will come to your own conclusion and will already know what the first step you need to take will be. Write it down on Sheet 3 and then write the rest of the steps down that are in your head. That first step is not something you most likely want to do. Suck it up cupcake. It isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be worth it.
You have now identified the fear that is holding you back and you have a plan of action. When do you execute the plan you’ve come up with? Now. The only answer is “now.” There will never be a perfect time. There are always competing interests for your time, effort, energy and money. There will always be a good reason to procrastinate. The only response is “now.” Go, get off your ass (physically, mentally or both) and do step one. Ignore the internal and external voices of doubt and go. Determination, iron clad will and steel in your spine exist inside you the moment you decide they do. There’s no secret to it. There’s no magic pill or prize in the bottom of a box of cereal. You already have the courage, determination and intensity of will to do it. Use them.
Step one is your springboard to building confidence and you will find that step two is always easier than step one was. The rest will probably fall into place as you move forward to a more enjoyable, profitable, productive, non-fear based life.
A thought for you from my life: Nearly everything I have ever been afraid of, after whatever action I choose to do to break out of that cage, has never seemed as monumental a problem or issue afterward as it did beforehand. The six headed, fire breathing dragon usually turns out to be a gecko with indigestion. Always remember that life is a choice. It’s yours to do what you want with it. Boring people who do nothing with their lives end up as statistics not history lessons.
In order to achieve everything you are capable of, you must learn to identify and destroy your fear cages. At the risk of sounding like a life coach again, I honestly believe every single person is capable of doing it if they honestly assess their fears and execute their plan of attack with determination.
I have had some amazing people in my life help me out and just want to do the same for others. Please contact me if you ever have a question anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2014 Matt Burkett, All rights reserved. Please email for reproduction permission.
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Predator Tactical LLC
2103 E Cedar St
Tempe, Arizona 85281
If you’re like me, then you like standing out from a crowd and having people just go crazy over your guns. This gun is just stunning and will cause jealousy.
Take a gander at the article linked below.
Now here’s where people get it twisted, as the kids say these days. Microstamping, even if it did actually work, would be pointless. All it would tell us is which illegally obtained gun that nobody knows the location of fired a round. It won’t tell us if it’s a round that killed somebody. THAT’s assuming somebody didn’t disable the microstamping feature, or pick up a bunch of brass from a local range, or about a zillion other things. Again, that’s assuming the technology worked in the first place, which it doesn’t.
Don’t believe that BS about it being for anyone’s safety. Printing a serial number on a spent casing does absolutely zero to make anyone any safer, and they know it. If legislators were actually concerned about safety, they would allow more people to carry guns. It’s been proven time and time again that the less restrictive gun laws are, the less violent crime there is. They want people reliant on government for their safety. When you NEED government to protect you from everything, you can’t really stop them from doing whatever the Hell they feel like doing.
The point of microstamping laws is about flanking gun control laws. Sure, you can buy guns, nobody’s saying you can’t. They’re just setting literally impossible standards for manufacturers. They’re not restricting YOUR right to purchase a gun, they’re just making it impossible to make a gun that companies are legally allowed to sell.
At the end of the day, the pro-victimization crowd wins. The gun companies are saddled with a no-win situation. They stand with their California customers and try to give them something, the rest of their customer base gets mad and says they capitulated to California’s freedom hating rulers. They leave their California customers in the lurch and stop selling in the Golden State, and they give the gun haters what they want. Another step towards civilian disarmament.
Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, the goal has always and will always be total disarmament. If they can’t do it by restricting your rights as an individual, they’ll do it by making it impossible or as financially unfeasible as possible for gun companies to comply with the law.
The Knockout Game is an increasingly popular game played mostly by African American teens. In this “game”, they select a random person, who will henceforth be referred to as the “victim”. The player of this game, henceforth known as the “criminal,” approaches their victim and attempts to knock them out in a single blow. It may be noteworthy that the preponderance of these victims are Caucasian looking, which if memory serves, would be criteria for categorizing these violent assaults as “hate crimes.” It may also be worthy to note that if Obama had a son, he would look nothing like the violent criminals playing The Knockout Game. His son would only look like the violent criminal St Trayvon Martin, patron saint of misinformed idiots and low information voters. But I digress…
The Knockout Game has reinforced a few ideas those of us in the self defense community take for granted. Among those is the idea that the police cannot protect you from violent criminals bent on doing evil. They are not psychic, and cannot be everywhere that a violent crime will take place. Under the majority of circumstances, they cannot arrest people for things they haven’t done yet. For a fairly sobering look at what the police are NOT required to do, go look up the Supreme Court case Warren v DC. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will. All this boils down to the fact that you are responsible for your own safety.
Another point brought to the forefront by this spate of random, senseless violence is that you should arm yourself with what you are legally allowed to have where you are. We’re not advocating you illegally carry a weapon. We are advocating that you find a self defense tool that you ARE legally allowed to carry, and become proficient in it’s deployment and use. Learning how to defend yourself with out immediately resorting to lethal force is a good idea, too. Depending on where you are and what the circumstances are, “disparity of force” may land you in jail because you shot somebody you could have reasonably been expected to defend yourself from with your fists.
The most important point that has been drilled into our heads over and over and over and over and over that still doesn’t ever seem to sink in is SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. Take the earbuds out, put the phone back in your pocket and look the Hell around. Be aware of your surroundings. People that look up and are situationally aware make themselves less attractive during the target selection phase of most criminal activity. The key to knocking someone out with a sucker punch is that a sucker punch isn’t seen coming. Being at least mildly alert and cognizant of the world around you will help reduce the chance of being sucker punched. If you are selected anyway, you have a better chance of seeing the attack coming and therefore have more time to defend yourself. All the training in the world, the best high capacity 1911 in the world(which is available at Predator Tactical, by the way) won’t do a damn bit of good if you’re staring at your phone or zoned out listening to music. Facebook will still be there when you get home. That song will still be there when you’re someplace safer.
Get training, even if it’s empty handed martial arts training. Get equipped if you’re legally able. Open your eyes, lift up your head, and make yourself a hard target by being observant. You don’t have to be a bug eyed paranoid Condition Black stress monger. Just pay attention. Does training take time, effort, money, and sweat? Yep. Make your safety and the safety of the people you love important enough to you to invest in some kind of training. Make the people you are responsible for important enough to you to keep the phone in your pocket and pay attention to the world around you when everyone else is Twittering or whatever it is these kids do with these newfangled internet machines.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
By now, most of you have read or at least heard about Dick Metcalf’s editorial in the December issue of Guns & Ammo. The article caused quite and uproar, and consequently got Dick fired. Read the linked letter from the editor in the previous sentence, and think about it for a second. Now granted, Dick should have lost his job over such idiocy. Should Jim Bequette also lose his job for letting Dick Metcalf put that bilge to print? He admittedly did it to stir up controversy, or “generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights.”
Mr. Bequette, we get Dick’s point of view from the libtarded holphobes that run Hollywood, way too much of our government on far too many levels, and far too many “educational” institutions. Publications like Guns and Ammo should not echo their lunacy in a crass attempt to drive up readership and news stand purchases.
Generating a healthy debate is good, and it’s something we should definitely foster. Debate means that we get a voice too. You took our voice away when you printed Dick’s editorial. You went to bat for the other team. You didn’t generate a healthy debate by presenting a different point of view and getting your readers to think. You went to bat for the other team. You took an opportunity to give readers more intellectual ammo for our side, provide respite from the onslaught of anti-gun fascism, and instead gave those who would disarm us a foothold in one of the most venerated magazines in the firearms world.
I’m glad you realize the foolishness and wrongness of your miscalculated attempt to increase revenue, and your “no excuses” apology sounded sincere. However, if Dick lost his job for writing that madness, I can’t help but think maybe you should too for reading his editorial and after thinking about it, decided to publish it anyway.
Here’s a little update from the 2013 3 Gun Nation Series.
Equip, Train, Dominate!
Kudos to the young gentlemen in the article below.
The short version: A broken lock and turned on lights made a convenience store look like it was open when it wasn’t. These young men walked in, got their stuff, saw there was no clerk, and… get this… PAID FOR IT ANYWAY. Yes, they left the correct change on the counter instead of walking out and stealing what they wanted. Our society has its issues, but hope remains.
Slow clap for the athletes on the William Patterson University football team.
The good folks at Comp-Tac take their work seriously. What is their work, you ask? I would think that as a reader of this blog you’d already be familiar with them, but if you don’t, take a gander at this link. Yes, a little shameless plug for another review. This is a review too, and I’m getting there. Hang on. Where was I? Right. Comp-Tac. They take their work seriously, and don’t seem to be the type of folks that rest on their laurels. They’ve come up with some new designs, one of which is a magazine pouch I shall review forthwith.
As you recall from the aforementioned link, the Comp-Tac single magazine pouch is an tension adjustable kydex magazine pouch that comes with a Tek-lok adjustable attach-to-your-belt-thing. Basically, you can tweak the pouch to hold the magazine as tight or as loosely as you want it, you can fiddle with the angle of the draw, and the draw itself is pretty smooth.
Now they’ve got a new, improved single magazine pouch with an “improved mold for a better draw.” They CLAIM the new shape of the mag pouch is more betterer than the old one. Color me skeptical, but I kinda doubt that some minor changes in shape are really going to make that much of a difference on what’s already a good piece of gear.
The new one is on the left, the “older” model is on the right. You’ll notice from my totally amazing photography skills that the new magazine pouch as that spiffy Comp-Tac logo on it. Take a look at the bottom edge. The newer one is flat across the bottom, while the older one has a slant. That’s because the new one is designed to be reversible. The new one is a little shorter than the older model, and has less surface of the magazine tube inside the kydex.
Both mag pouches have that little tensioning screw(see the picture) to adjust how tightly they hold on to the magazine. The mag pouches I got where both way too loose out of the box, so some adjustment was required. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just something to think about. Checking the tension on a brand new magazine pouch is probably a good idea before the first stage of a match, or using the magazine pouch as a CCW ammo storage device. Also, make sure you set up the tension on a loaded magazine. Not only is the weight different, but the new pouches grab onto a loaded magazine more tightly than an empty one. Trust me, I checked.
The “improved mold” really did improve my reload. I went from “glacially slow” to “slightly faster than molasses in January”. The feel of the magazine draw is a little different with the new model. The old version feels like the magazine “clicks” into place on the way in, and requires a little additional oomph on the way out. The new one does not, and draws with the same amount of force the whole way. As I mentioned earlier, the new model is not as tall as the older model, so more of the magazine is exposed. This makes the amount of movement required to clear the magazine pouch slightly less on the newer model, but I definitely felt the difference.
Trying the reversibleness of the magazine pouch was a little tricky, since I don’t generally draw magazines with my right hand. I gave it a shot anyway and it was awful, so I put the magazine pouch back on the left side of my belt where it belongs. In order to defeat my total inability to draw a magazine with my “strong” hand, I turned the magazine around with the pouch on the left side, so the primer faced forward. This positioned the magazine the same way it would be for a lefty, as far as orientation in the magazine pouch. The difference was remarkable. With the actual bullet facing the rear where the tensioning screw is, the draw was noticeably easier. I tried this with a couple different magazines, loaded and unloaded, in both magazine pouches, and the results were the same. It was a little bizarre. So lefties, you definitely got a good deal on this one.
I was going to complain and whine about the fact that this magazine pouch wasn’t available with a Tek-lok attachment. As it turns out, I was wrong. According to the website, it IS available in Tek-lok, so you can adjust the angle of the magazine to fit your needs. For those positions on your belt best suited for a vertical cant, the non-adjustable clip worked perfectly. The clip is designed for a specific belt width, and fit my 1.5″ belt with no wiggle room. The pouch stayed where I put it with no rattling or bouncing.
Overall, I really like this magazine pouch. The draw actually is better than the already very good draw from the older design. At 28 bones a piece, it’s really a great deal.
Open carry SHOULD not be a big deal. People SHOULD be able to strap a gun on their hip or sling a rifle and carry on with their day and cause narry a fuss. People SHOULD be able to rock their Predator Tactical Shrike and get no more attention from the police than maybe asking where they got that kickass 1911, and if they do law enforcement discounts. People SHOULD be able to sling their AR while grocery shopping, and it’s just not a big damn deal. How things SHOULD be and how they ARE, however, are not the same thing.
Before we even get to the social, political, and tactical aspects of concealed carry, there is a litany of legal issues to consider. Is open carry legal at every level where you are and where you plan on carrying? Do the laws explicitly say “You may carry an unconcealed firearm” or is there just no specific law that says you can’t? There’s a very big difference there, and one that could turn very expensive, time consuming, and send-you-to-jail-and-take-
Are the cops going to see your legally carried firearm and attempt to detain you until they figure it out, like this guy? Remember police officers don’t know every single law ever, and you may find yourself on the business of their guns until everything gets sussed out. Should the police detain you, be calm, be polite, be respectful, and be patient. Those four things are really good ways to not be an argumentative asshole and end up getting shot because you’re being hostile towards cops and you have a gun.
Are you in the legal right? Yes. Will everything eventually get figured out? Yes. Is the best time to make an impromptu speech about how you’re legally in the clear and they’re trying to oppress your rights when said cop is screaming at you to get on the ground? No. Do what they tell you to, avoid anything that could be interpreted as agression, and calmly explain everything once you’re able. Don’t be the guy that tries to get into a shouting match with an amped up cop that thinks he’s about to stop the next mass shooting.
The police encounter may be much more civil, and the cop may just walk up and ask you what you think you’re doing. THAT’s when you politely, calmly, and eloquently explain it just the way you rehearsed in the car on the way there. Having a printed copy of the laws that allow you to carry in that manner might not be a bad idea, either. Again, don’t be confrontational about it, but letting the officer know you have it and asking if they’d like to see it may not be a bad idea.
The police may ask you to leave where you are legally allowed to be. Wether or not you argue is up to you. I would recommend you evaluate the individual cop you’re talking to, how the encounter has gone thus far, and figure out if you can push it by POLITELY reminding them that what you’re doing is perfectly legal. At the end of the day, that police officer has the monopoly of force. You will be the one in the wrong until you can prove otherwise. Yes, that flies in the face of the most basic principles of our legal system, but unfortunately, that’s how it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t get their name and complain about him or her later, but at the time, it’s best to just do what you’re told. Pick your battles, as my dad always says.
Obviously, you’re going to go open carry somewhere for attention. You want to make a political point, and you hope somebody is going to approach you on the subject. Well, you’ve just made yourself an ambassador for every other gun owner in America. You have elected yourself the public face of the Second Amendment movement in the eyes of everyone that can tear themselves away from their phone long enough to notice you’re armed. Think about that when you decide what clothes you’ll wear, and how you’ll conduct yourself if anyone says anything to you.
If you get approached by anyone, police, not police, whoever, remember that you will influence that person’s thoughts on open carry and gun rights in general. Before I go further, I thought it worth pointing out that I did not use the term “civilians” when referring to people that aren’t police. That’s because police officers are civilians, too. Everyone that is not in the military is a civilian. That includes cops. But I digress…
If and or when you get the attention you have asked for by doing something controversial, don’t be mad at people for giving you the attention. Be a good ambassador. Be able to articulate your thoughts and the legal reinforcement to your arguments. The idea is not to publicly browbeat somebody who doesn’t agree with you. The Brady Campaign isn’t going to magically teleport there so you can trounce them in a public debate by waving a copy of the Constitution around. Show people that gun owners and gun carriers aren’t unhinged wackos waiting for the chance to shoot somebody.
If you don’t get the attention you’ve hoped for, don’t be upset. If you managed to walk around all day with a gun out there for the world to see, and nobody said a peep to you. If nobody did anything but give you a second look and carried on with their business, don’t be upset. You have succeeded! You’ve helped normalize firearms and their carry. You have helped make it a little bit less of a big deal to people.
There may or may not be a follow on article to this about the tactical considerations of open carry, depending on wether or not there’s any interest in it from the readership. That’s you. Send emails, leave comments, let us know what you think.
Hop on over to Trunk Monkey Union for a slightly different take on open carry.
Equip, Train, Dominate!