How "Radical Implosion" Can Help You Get Ahead at Work — and Everywhere Else


Do you ever feel like there's something holding you back at work? Maybe it's social anxiety that keeps you from speaking up in meetings, or a fear of rocking the boat that keeps you from asking for that raise you really deserve.

If you're like most people, you probably feel like you've tried everything. You've taken your deep breaths, said your mantras, posed in power positions. And it still didn't work. You just couldn't overcome the fears and insecurities deep inside.

Are you serious about making some changes? And committed? Then there's one more thing you might try. It's a technique called radical implosion, and it can help you change for the better — even in areas where you feel really and truly stuck.

Radical Implosion Explained

Radical implosion is the idea that overcoming a challenge much more difficult than the one you're actually afraid of makes your fear dissipate. Psychologist Albert Ellis pioneered this approach in 1933 when, desperate to learn how to talk to women, he decided he would talk to every woman he found sitting alone on a bench in the New York Botanical Gardens. And over 230 women later, he had overcome his fear.

Will Farrell did something similar when, frustrated with his shyness and the ways he felt it was holding him back, he started doing embarrassing things in public on purpose, until it didn't bother him anymore when people laughed at him. Sure, it sounds crazy, but we all know where it got him!!

Radical Implosion at Work

To apply radical implosion at work, you first have to determine what it is you're afraid of, and then you have to find a way to address that fear from an implosion perspective.

During Meetings

Speaking up in meetings can be terrifying. All of a sudden, there are several people looking at you, focused on you. What if you say the wrong thing, or you can't explain your ideas, or everyone thinks your idea is stupid?

To address this from an implosion perspective, think about other times and places where you could stand up, speak, and have the attention of a crowd. Maybe you decide to give an impromptu speech in your local park every Saturday at noon, or try your hand at karaoke, or approach random strangers on a street corner to explain your point of view on something.

No matter which of these options you choose, once you've done it, talking to your co-workers in the confined space of a meeting should be a piece of cake.

Asking For a Raise

It's easy to be terrified when asking for more money. After all, if they thought you deserved more, wouldn't you be making it already? And what if they refuse you, or ask you a question you hadn't anticipated, or laugh in your face?

One implosion technique to apply here would be to approach random people and ask for something. You could start with the time, and move on to requesting money or food or larger items. When you've done this quite a few times, asking your boss to consider a raise won't be nearly as intimidating.

You could also implode this fear by asking a few other people for relatively big things. This requires you having some things that you need or want and people who could give them to you, but it would also make that raise request seem much easier.


It's hard enough to make friends as an adult, and sometimes networking seems even harder. What if you seem fake, or you can't explain what you do and where you want to go, or you forget your words entirely and speak gobbledygook?

Start imploding these fears by approaching random strangers. Pick a number, like 50, and don't go home until you've explained what you do to that many people. Take your business cards with you, because you might end up networking by accident! And when you're done, attending that seminar or meeting with that group with the hopes of making some new connections won't seem so frightening anymore!

Radical Implosion Elsewhere

Work isn't the only place where you can use radical implosion techniques to achieve your goals.


People have many, many fears surrounding money. Some are afraid to spend on themselves, while others are afraid of the chances they will miss if they save. While these aren't necessarily social fears, they can still be attacked with implosion.

If you are afraid of budgeting, try budgeting every single dollar for the next six months and see if it kills you. If you are afraid of spending money on yourself, buy the most luxurious vacation you can afford. And if you are afraid of what you will miss out on if you save some of your money, try saving as much as you possibly can for several months.

The point here is to go over the top. Don't ease yourself into attacking your fears, but tackle them head on. That way, you will know for sure that whatever you're afraid of isn't actually so bad.


Does talking to a potential romantic partner make your hands sweaty? Do you get so tongue tied on a date that you end up saying nothing?

Radical implosion can help you. Be like Ellis and begin approaching people you might want to date, not to necessarily get a date, but to learn how to strike up a conversation. Or go to a party and make yourself carry on a five-minute conversation with at least 10 potential dates. Over time, you will learn that you can do whatever you felt like you couldn't.

These aren't the only situations where radical implosion can help you grow and achieve your goals. This technique, once learned, can help you overcome many fears by showing you that they are not, in fact, deserving of your fear after all.

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