Fear makes us vulnerable and prevents us from reaching our goals because we just can’t make ourselves to do things that have to be done. Therefore instead of reaching for the stars we just freeze and overthink how this might be dangerous or how quickly we can fall of the ladder.
What is fear
Wikipedia describes fear as a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms. This causes a change in metabolic and organ functions. It ultimately causes a change in our behavior, such as hiding or freezing.
It is a natural reaction to unknown. How to overcome fear is something every person has to find out by himself, since not everything works for everybody. But it is crucial for you to overcome it in order to reach for the stars. Fear makes people ordinary, and you are not ordinary, am I right?
Know your fears
Do you remember the last time you didn’t do something because you were afraid? It will probably the easiest for you to remember the time when you had to get rid of a big fat spider in your living room. If you wanted your living room to be “spider free” again you had to pick up the spider and carry it outside. Or kill it and clean up the mess. Disgusting, right? At least for most of us.
The same feelings overwhelm you when you are hesitating to write that important email your future depends on or to go to a job interview or even to contact a potential client. The difference is that this fear might not be as straightforward as that one.
If you want to overcome fear this is the first step to take: you have to recognise it. When you’re hesitating and not feeling like doing something but in the same time feel butterflies in your stomach, it probably means that you are afraid of doing it. You might also feel nervous, try to avoid it and do nothing, seek excuses to confirm why not to go through with it and trying to distract yourself from it. Observe yourself and your feelings. Ask yourself what do I feel, am I afraid?
Apply this knowledge to every field of your life and business, even if it is just talking to a stranger. The key here is to become an expert in recognising when you are afraid.
85% of what we fear never happens
Did you know that? This is like giving a 85% deposit on a house that you will never own. Ridiculous, right?
When crossing the road we fear that a car will hit us or when passing a dog we fear it will bite us. When talking to our boss we fear that we will say something stupid and ruin our chances for promotion. You can think of at least 10 more that happens to you every day. If you are afraid of ordinary things like this, think about statistics – how many times this particular fear came true for you in the past? Think of how many times you crossed a road in your life or how many dogs you passed by in the past? How many of those times a car hit you or how many dogs bit you? If you are one unlucky person you will answer 1 or 2 tops. But you worry about it every time…
What are you afraid of, really?
Tim Ferriss gave a TedX talk a while ago. He said you should define your fears instead of your goals. I must say I agree with him. Fear is usually the number one obstacle that prevents you from achieving our goals. But what is it that you are actually afraid of?
When dealing with the spider, what is it about it that makes it so frightening? Yes, it might bite you, but most of them won’t or won’t have the chance to do so.
If you have to write an important email that your future depends on, what is the reason to be afraid to do it? The most common answers to this question are that it will not be written well enough, that you will screw it up or that your email will not be answered.
Fear shouldn’t be an obstacle. You have to do this, right? Even if there’s a good chance to be rejected, it shouldn’t stop you. To be honest the only thing you should be afraid is not to write this email. Because in this way all of your chances will be gone. So gather your courage and write the best email you possibly can, amaze them and in this way improve your chances to be accepted.
Discard your (unreasonable) fears
Some of your fears are really ridiculous, do you agree? How can a small spider threaten your existence? It should be afraid of you, not the other way around.
Fear that is not originating from something as innocent as spider and the one that does, let’s face it, is not helpful in any way. In modern world they cause us more harm than good so you should learn how to fight fear. If you want to overcome fear, read this article where you can find step by step guide: How to overcome fear.