The idea of the Remote Miss is utterly fascinating. In fact, the word fascinated may be an understatement. It can change the way you see fear, giving you the power to harness it and mold it to your needs. You slowly begin to crave a rendezvous with things which were once impossible to face. In fact, the Remote Miss is less of an idea and more of a mindset. A lifestyle.
But what is it? How does it work?
The Idea of the Remote Miss?
The idea itself is almost obscure. The term Remote Miss is pulled from a book written around World War II, called “The Structure of Morale”. The book itself is slightly irrelevant to most of us, as it covers the subject of psychological warfare, studying those who experienced the Blitz (the bombing of England and most especially London during the peak of World War II).
However, on an obscure page in the first few chapters of the book, the author describes a phenomenon which he witnessed over and over and over again. A phenomenon which he came to realize was the key to destroying fear. Something he termed a ‘Remote Miss’.
In context, the term refers to those who lived in constant fear of the constantly recurring air raids. Naturally, the mere sound of bombing threw these people into frenzied fear, regardless of their proximity to the occurrence. Throughout the bombing they would remain on razor edge, jumping to the worst possible conclusion: inevitable death.
However, once a bomb deployed in their immediate area, such individuals experienced a change of mindset. For those who were deeply affected by a bomb, whether due to the death of a relative or because of a serious personal injury, their fear was increased twofold. However, in the case of those who experienced such an occurrence in the immediate area but did not suffer a personal casualty, the opposite occurred. Upon realizing that their worst nightmare had occurred and that they had survived, all the fear they associated with the sounds of bombing were replaced with a sense of excitement. In little to no time, this excitement grew into a feeling of invincibility.
How We Can Benefit from the Remote Miss Mentality?
Great. Now we all know the psychology behind mass warfare. But it doesn’t seem remotely (no pun intended) applicable to our daily life.
But it is.
If you take a closer look at the theory of a Remote Miss, you can unveil the secret to eliminating your deepest fears, and experience the elation of invincibility.
Fear is rarely a reaction to the stimulus itself. More often, it is the result of anticipating whatever it is that we are scared of. Members of the Remote Miss group were those who subconsciously separated their anticipatory fear of the bombs from the stimulus itself. Likewise, we unwittingly create the worst possible scenario in our minds, and cling to the anticipation of that scenario like it is inevitable.
And that is the key to ridding ourselves of our fears: differentiating actual fear from anticipatory fear.
Take the fear of heights for example. For those who struggle with this, the worst thing you can possibly do is stand on the edge of something tall. Why? Because your mind subconsciously jumps to the worst conclusions. You start to assume that since you are standing high up, you will inevitably fall. The anticipation of falling keeps you on edge until you get down from said height and breathe a sigh of relief that you didn’t die.
However, taking what we know about the Remote Miss Mindset, we can successfully eliminate these fears. This is accomplished by facing the worst possible scenario in a controlled situation.
Now, note the fact it must be a controlled situation. If you are scared of crocodiles, please don’t go and jump in a pool full of them. Or if you have a fear of taking a high dive of 60 feet into a bucket of water… Again. Please don’t. In cases when the worst possible scenario will produce the worst possible outcome, it will successfully make you 100% more paranoid than you originally were. Much like the people who suffered serious personal loss during the Blitz.
However, in a controlled setting, the Remote Miss Mindset is incalculably effective.
The first test subject for this theory was, in fact, myself. True to form, I had an extreme fear of heights. Not to flatter myself, but there could not be a better candidate for a test subject. So, before I could convince myself out of it, I signed up and jumped 18,000 feet out of a perfectly good plane.
Sitting on the edge of that plane was probably the most sickening thing I have ever experienced. My adrenaline was rocketing and the anticipation was immense. I had made my worst scenario a reality. However, half a minute later, I was free-falling at an ungodly rate and actually enjoying it. And five minutes later, I ended up on the ground. Alive. Invincible. Elated that my theory had held up.
Since then, heights have not been an issue. I now casually take off in airplanes without feeling the urge to scream. I go rock-climbing without being surrounded by a fuzz of panic. Skydiving even became somewhat of an addiction.
The Remote Miss mindset may be an obscure idea from an obscure book. But if you’re looking to face your fears, it might just be the answer. Try it if you dare!