Fear is like a monster that lives comfortably inside us, adept at finding opportune moments to stage its attack.
Honestly, it’s tragic the sheer number of fledgling dreams that have been killed by fear. A fear of failure, mockery, hurt, and humiliation has kept me from doing so many things. I’ve damaged so many relationships because of my fear of rejection and abandonment.
A lot of the decisions that I’ve made in my life have been motivated by fear.
Fear kept me from pursuing writing as a serious passion. Instead, I worked on getting a degree in Economics because it was the safer option.
I don’t regret my decisions, but I do regret that they did not always come from a good place. A lot of them were fear-driven.
The last few years have been all about doing things that scare me. When I decided to not take up the job offers that followed my Masters and instead try out different industries, I had to face a lot of mockery and judgment from my peers and extended family.
It was really hard and every day, I just wanted to cave.
I am still not done exploring, but I’ve managed to find a happy balance. At this point in time, there are a lot of things going on in my life and it is so much work, but it is work that I am happy to do.
The choices that I am making may blow up in my face tomorrow, but I will have no regrets. I’ll simply pick myself up and get back into the fray.
To be able to make that claim with a hundred percent certainty is an excellent feeling. There are still moments of self-doubt, but they are few and far between. I wish for everyone to feel that way.
Can you imagine if we all overcame the fear inside us and let our talents breathe, what the world would be like? There will be happy souls everywhere and so many more inventions and creations.
Here are a few ways you can overcome your fear –
1) Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if you fail?”
This works for me every time because while the fear makes everything look so intimidating and scary, the answer to this question makes me realize that it really isn’t that big a deal. So, unless the answer to that question is possible death, you really have no reason not to do whatever it is that you want to do.
As I was pursuing my Masters, I was barely keeping it together. The stress was getting to be too much and then, one of the uni professors asked me this question-
“If you fail, what is the worst thing that will happen?”
This put everything in perspective. I didn’t fail, but failing would have simply meant retaking certain exams and doing some low paying, part-time job in the interim. Not such a big deal, after all.
Had I not had this moment, I would have carried around all that stress with me and I probably would have failed.
Maybe some of you are afraid of something bigger than this and maybe it could potentially ruin your life, but it wouldn’t kill you. (I sincerely hope the answer to that question is a definite ‘No’. This article is not to encourage anyone to join gangs or murder their boss or anything extreme. Don’t do that, please! :D)
2) What’s the alternative?
Time for some logical reasoning. Fear channels the powers of our imagination and takes us down a very dark and gloomy road.
In no time, we come up with a worst case scenario and then, we are done. So, let’s talk about the worst-case scenarios. We take a chance and things go wrong, what happens then?
Humiliation, Mockery, Judgment, Condemnation, disappointment, Empty bank account.
And if you don’t take a chance on yourself, what’s life going to be like then? What is the alternative to not doing whatever it is that you really want to do?
Mediocre Job? Loveless Marriage? Life without passion? Dying without ever leaving a mark on the world?
I don’t know about you, but that scares me witless. A lot more than the threat of an empty bank account.
If you try hard enough, you CAN find the strength to brave anything. You just have to believe that your happiness is worth all the trouble.
Someday, I’ll be on my deathbed with nothing to do but look back on my life. I do not want to weep with regrets or think about all the things I didn’t do because of fear!!
3) Understand your fear
Fear is not always rational.
Yes, it’s an instinct that keeps us safe, but most of the time, it’s rooted in uncertainty and ignorance.
People with crazy amounts of talent are afraid of letting their talent out because they don’t want to be laughed at.
They don’t even realize how extremely talented they are, no matter how many times they are told.
This isn’t rational. It is a refusal to step out of the safe and familiar. You don’t have to go ‘all in’, you can try to understand your fear.
If you want to do something that doesn’t come with guarantees, do it without jeopardizing everything else. Find a middle ground. Approach it gently.
Develop better self-awareness and channel it to uproot and destroy your fears once and for all.
4) Depersonalize your fear
Random people in this world know about my fears. They didn’t ask, I just told them. That’s how little my fears mean to me. The more you nurse your fears, the bigger they’ll get in your head.
Confessing your fears out loud robs them of their power. The more frequently you do it, the less power they’ll have. Why do you think people go to therapists?
Also, there is a good chance that when you tell someone what you’re afraid of, their reaction will be so ‘mild’, that it will make you feel foolish for being scared in the first place.
5) Plan B
We are all wired differently. Some of us thrive under pressure, and some of us develop an ulcer, insomnia and start to display signs of lunacy. So, find out what works well for you.
If you are the ‘play it safe’ kinda person, then having a plan B is just what you need. It will take away a lot of the fear because you’ll know you have something to fall back on.
Once the risk has been reduced to a manageable level, the fear will be manageable too.
6) Saturate your senses with positivity
The world is full of people who changed their destiny with sheer grit and determination. They were destined for an ordinary life, but they disregarded their circumstances and simply, dared to dream!
Read their stories, the way people have survived and overcome impossible situations might just give you the push you need. Listen to music that fires you up.
You can use brain training exercises that may help you to develop better habits and more optimistic thought process.
Related : How To Deal With Negative Thoughts?
7) Learn to love your failures
Or at least have a respectful relationship with them.
All the clichés about failures being life-lessons came from people who have been through long struggles and come out stronger and better. So, pay heed.
I will never reach a point in my life where I’ll be OK with failing. Hell, no! You pour your heart into something, you WANT to succeed. There is nothing wrong with that, but at the same time, if the choice is between failing and not doing a damn thing about my dreams then, the choice is fairly simple.
I can swear on everything holy that I would rather live a hard life doing what I love than, settle for a safe existence and allow my dreams to die.
Dig deep and find the strength to fight for your dreams. It will be worth it.
If we were to look back on our lives, most of us will find ‘FEAR’ to have been in the starring role in most of our stories.
It just seems so wrong that our own mind can conjure up a bunch of nonsense that keeps us from reaching for our dreams. It’s even worse if we allow other people and their opinions to dictate our life choices.
Let’s take back the power and push fear into non-existence. Go after your dreams with the courage and determination of a warrior. Win just one battle and you would have tasted the sweet taste of victory and there will be no going back.