Birthdays do interesting things to some people. It makes some people question everything about their life and makes others excited about everything in life. Then there are those who reflect on past accomplishments. And I can’t forget the ones who curse the day deeming themselves a failure along with those who celebrate every waking moment. But As I celebrate a milestone birthday today, July 18th, I find myself thinking of my fear. I think about what fears were justified and which ones were silly and concocted in my mind after seeing a scary movie or unrealistic report. Most importantly, I’ve been thinking about the fears that stopped me from doing things I felt passionate about. Finally, I reflected on fears that never gave hopes, dreams, and accomplishments a chance like the time I wanted to audition to be a dancer for an NBA team and the time that I didn’t sing the national anthem at the baseball game when given a chance, or the time I was too afraid to build a relationship with someone who could have been a new friend. And I can’t forget the time I talked myself out of submitting my book proposal to that agent.
As I think about about these things, I can only come to one conclusion. My fear hasn’t stopped me from doing anything. I did. I allowed my fear to be crippling and stop me from the living the life I’ve always imagined. As a result, I never allowed myself to live to my full potential. I didn’t have any faith in myself because I put all my faith in my fear. I can no longer allow myself to miss opportunities because of fear. After all, living in constant fear is the reason why we never leave our comfort zone or experience the world. What I find most unfortunate is that living in fear never allows us to grow or become who we really are. As I look back on the things I never allowed to happen because of fear, it’s about time I made a change. It’s about time I be fearless – fearless enough to dedicate the next year to doing one thing that scares me everyday.
The question is how do you become fearless? It’s probably a question that’s asked quite frequently but never received an adequate answer. While some say the solution to conquering your fears is asking, “What’s the worst that can happen?,” others say the question only makes their fears even more terrifying. But when you really think about it, a majority of your fears never even happen, which makes me wonder why we have fears in the first place. All it does is make us live a lackluster life in which we never fulfill our hopes and dreams. But in case, that’s not good enough reason for you, here’s six ways you can begin to live life with a little less fear. (I’ll definitely be applying these principles as I challenge myself to do one scary thing everyday.)
1. Trust yourself.
People usually develop fears when they aren’t giving themselves enough credit. You don’t think you are a good enough singer, so you don’t bother auditioning or you don’t think you are smart enough so you refuse to apply to that job. It’s time you had faith in your abilities. You’ve prepared long and hard for the moment and developed the skills. It’s time you put them to the test and trust that you can do it. Once you can trust yourself, it will be much easier for you to put some trust in others. Like I always say, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
2. Be willing to give up control.
It’s only natural to want to have a strong grip on life. However, when you hold on too tight you’ll never get the chance to experience the ride of a lifetime. Sure, staying in full control may eliminate fear, but it will also limit your ability to live. Let someone take the reigns for a while. Better yet, let go and be willing to accept what happens. You just might be in for a pleasant surprise.
3. Educate yourself.
There is a big difference between something that scares you and something that’s dangerous. The dangerous can hurt, cripple or even kill you while the scary can only broaden your horizons, allow you to realize your full potential or teach your something. Learn the difference and apply it to every aspect of life and while conquering fears. Your world would never be the same again.
4. Expect success.
I was always taught that negativity only brings more negativity. Therefore, when dealing with fears you need to believe you will success and you will. Be positive that the best it yet to come. After all, fear can lead you to an empowering world you never imagined.
5. Recognize that fear is a feeling not fact.
Contrary to popular belief, fear has nothing to do with fact and has everything to do with your mental state. Sure they say, 50 percent of all restaurants fail within the first five years and it’s scary thought. But that doesn’t mean it will happen to you. Those statistics will always be about other people and has no impact on your strengths, ability, and future. The fear that you will fail is all in your head. Once you recognize that, you are half way to being the fearless person you aspire be.
6. Learn to ask for help.
Conquering fears doesn’t mean you need to do it alone. Some of the most fearless people in history had mentors, guides, or even partners helping them along the way. Part of being fearless is knowing when to ask for help and accepting it. Once you do, you might find your fear never had any merit and that you truly are capable of conquering the world.
Has fear ever stopped you from doing something you love? How did you overcome it?
TERRIfic Quip: You are capable of doing and becoming more than you realize.