4 Words That Will Destroy Your Life (& Business)

In business, as in life, it is a necessity to pursue our dreams, go after everything we want, and leave nothing on the table. Unfortunately, there is one, four-letter word that prevents us from carrying through with going after what we want.

It is one of the most crippling four-letter words we have in the English vocabulary… FEAR.


I have mentioned in previous posts that fear is a life-killer. If you let it run you, it will not give you a chance to succeed. It quite simply will prevent you from reaching any dream you may have. The opposite of fear is faith and you have to put the latter in place of the former in order to make any real progress and live a life with no regrets .

I used to have a fear of flying… so Gary did all of the traveling for our business… until I overcame it.  As a result, Gary has probably been to more countries than I’ve had birthdays.

Gary, on the other-hand, used to have a fear of cold-calling… until he worked for a stockbroker when he was very young and had to make 500 calls to strangers every day while standing on top of a desk (a hazing ritual).

Acronyms To Live (and Not Live) By

Here are some acronyms for you…

F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. Let that one soak in if you haven’t heard it before.

Here are two more that are used for people recovering from addictions… One good, one not so much…

The good one – F.E.A.R Face Everything And Recover

 … and the bad one – F.E.A.R  F*ck Everything And Run

 It’s completely your choice which acronym to live by.

 This one word leads us on the path to two other words that we would never want to say on our deathbed, if we let FEAR control us…

 If Only

 If only I went up to that girl, I could’ve…

If only I studied harder, I could’ve…

If only I apologized when I had the chance…

If only I tried harder to make the business work…

Whenever I hear people saying these two words, I default to one response (pardon my French): …

“If only my aunt had balls… she’d be my Uncle”

(I only learned that phrase because if only used to be my two ‘go-to’ words until someone said that phrase to me)

You have an obligation to yourself to take every shot , even when that shot may look like a hard one. Here are a few of the million and one things I have heard that I continue to hear on a daily basis:

Life:  “If Only I did “X”, then I could’ve done “Y”

A dying friend or relative:  “If only I spent more time with my children…”

Sports: “If only I took the shot, maybe I would’ve…”

Business: “If only I swallowed my ego and asked for help”

This first word (FEAR) lead to the next 2 words (IF ONLY). The culmination of the both leads to one final word that people get when they allow these words to define them… RESENTMENT.


At the end of the day, this one final word, if you have it, is the one thing that prevents us from getting the thing we want most in life… closure. We can’t leave this Earth wondering what could have been, if only we had done this or that. Let me be clear… there is nothing wrong with failure. Failure is how we learn and we cannot succeed without it. Failure is only failure if we quit or don’t even try. I will never have a resentment of a failure if I tried my best. More on resentment in my next post. Until then, let me leave you with this…

Fear will never control us if we face it head on. If only will not be in our vocabulary if we overcome fear… and resentment will never be in our vocabulary if we never say the words, if only.

Have a great day!



“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

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4 thoughts on “4 Words That Will Destroy Your Life (& Business)

  1. Good stuff, MJ. Failure is only dangerous if mixed with that awful concoction of fear, “if only” and resentment. Failure from trying and falling on one’s face is the good kind of strengthening failure. When we stop caring so much about our reputation or who we think we are and go for it…we’ll see we have more to gain than to lose.

    Looking forward to the next post.

    1. Thank you Jacob. I appreciate it. I agree we must try. Even if we fail and “fall on our face” as you say we must go after what we believe. Yes, we have much more to gain than to lose. Well put. Thanks man- MJ

  2. MJ,

    It’s true, there has been a lot of business writing on fear and its ability to hamper entrepreneurs. Where there seems to be a conspicuous lack of attention is the fact that fear is evolutionary, and even necessary.

    Fear can be what pushes us to succeed (even if it takes the form of a ‘fear of failure’ that drives us to really stretch, work hard, and sleep at the office while getting things off the ground).

    It seems to me like the real key is finding the appropriate relationship with fear. While fear may prevent me from taking out a third mortgage on my house to fund a business venture, it shouldn’t stand in the way of pursuing sound opportunities.

    I remember when I landed my first job, and it required a great deal of public speaking. I was terrified. It kept me up nights leading to major presentations. And I think a lot of people share this totally irrational fear. It’s a good example of fear ‘shrinking’ our lives and preventing our undertaking opportunities purely based on an emotion.

    But the key was learning to put some context around it and think, ‘I’m scared, but I’m doing this scared.’

    Hope that doesn’t come off as sounding like I’m patting myself on the back. The lesson I learned, I guess, is that fear itself wasn’t the problem. It was my relationship with fear. If I could learn to harness fear, fear could keep me sharp — could motivate me — could build confidence over the long term that I could ‘do things scared,’ and it would turn out ok.

    Figuring out how grow a healthy relationship with fear is an area I wish we heard more about. You guys probably have better case studies than the simple story I just told. If so, I hope you can share them with us!

    Thanks, man!

    1. Thanks so much Will. Yes, I agree that it is all about our relationship with fear that determines whether it can fuel or, well, freeze us so to speak.

      I think you have a very logical perspective on this that can only come from experience. Sometimes a ‘simple story’ is the most powerful so don’t sell yourself short. I am always learning from you my friend! Have a great one and thanks for such an insightful comment. Best-MJ

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