What Is The “Terror Barrier?”
The Terror Barrier is the feeling of fear and anxiety you experience when you’re about to push past your comfort zone in a major way. Most men experience it right before they approach an attractive women. The Terror Barrier is also experienced in other areas life. About to quit your job and become an entrepreneur? The Terror Barrier will come up. Maybe you’ve experienced similar feelings when doing something physically extreme like skydiving or cliff jumping.
Perhaps you felt the Terror Barrier right before making a massive financial investment in your personal development.
Essentially the Terror Barrier works as an internal indicator of how much tension you are facing in the moment. When it’s in full effect, you are facing an extremely high amount of tension (for your own current capacity level). For many people, this is too much tension to handle and it shuts them down completely. They actually slide backward and allow their fears to prevent them from making any progress in their lives.
The Terror Barrier is the gatekeeper that separates you from the point-of-no-return of a major decision.
Now, I want to clarify that you’re probably not facing the Terror Barrier every time you step into tension, but it’s the same concept. The difference is that the anxiety isn’t as high, and you haven’t assigned as much emotional weight to the situation. When the Terror Barrier is in effect, usually your internal stories are going haywire and you almost have to suspend your attachment to your current reality to step through it. The reason for this is after going through a Terror Barrier, you have truly changed yourself and who you are in the world.
It’s like a football team marching the ball down the field against the opposing defense. There’s always going to be tension as the offense runs plays against the defense, but as the offense gets closer to their current goal (getting the ball to the endzone), the defense tightens up and the tension rises. When the ball’s inside the 5-yard line and the goal is so close, that defensive line becomes even tougher and more intimidating to run through – that’s like the Terror Barrier.
If the offense breaks through and scores a touchdown, there’s celebration and joy. The tougher the defense (the Terror Barrier) was down at the goal line, the more rewarding the feeling of going through it will be.
A great example of someone crossing a Terror Barrier from film is in the first Star Wars when Luke takes down the Death Star. He had no idea what he was doing but he was determined to move forward anyway. The stakes were as high as they get — the entire galaxy was at stake! — and Luke was basically a Jedi without any proper training. When he started listening to Obi Wan to trust the force, that was Luke committing to stepping through the Terror Barrier despite what his internal stories were telling him. We all know how the story ends, but I wanted to give you that model in case you’re coming up against your own Terror Barriers today.
Journaling about the tension in your daily life as you practice stepping into it is a great method for helping you gauge your own comfort levels with various forms of tension. You will begin to notice when the tension is a 1 or a 2 versus a 9 or 10. The higher numbers are where the Terror Barrier kick in.
Breaking Through The Barrier
Now look back to the examples I listed above: approaching a women, skydiving, quitting your job. If you’ve experienced any of these in your life, think back to how it felt after you stepped through these tension experiences. Pretty damn great right? After you pass through these thresholds, a feeling of relief comes over you. It’s also important to note that this feeling is not dependent on the specific outcome of what you did; it’s really tied to the fact that you did it in the first place. It’s similar to the feeling of finishing a major test in school, you don’t necessarily know what grade you got, but at least it’s over now and you can go back to a more relaxed state.
Over time as you continually practice stepping through tension, you become less reactive and your capacity to handle tension increases. Even when dealing with Terror Barriers, you get more comfortable with staying present to the moment and seeing yourself through. Eventually, you can reach a point where literally nothing can shake you and you see Terror Barriers as more of a friendly challenge or a gift.
Billionaire entrepreneur, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is a great example of a man who welcomes Terror Barriers in his life. With every new industry Branson has stepped into, he’s done it with no experience going in and a lot of detractors, but his attitude of “screw it, let’s do it” has kept him pushing forward.
Remember, the challenge of tension is central to your life as a man and although the stakes can feel very real at times, tension and your Terror Barriers are things you can learn to approach with a playful energy. The perspective: Feeling scared and stepping into it can make you feel incredibly alive!
And if you haven’t been to an event yet, I hope you’ll consider joining me at The Fearless Man Live! For two days, we’ll dive deep into fear, getting good with tension, confidence, women, sex, success, and more. And in the evenings, you’ll have a group of like-minded men and some of our coaches to take you out and get you practicing, pushing your boundaries, and progressing right away. Tickets are very affordable. Check out the event now.