How can you overcome your fears? It’s a question we all ask at certain times. Is there some magic pill out there to help us transform into Mr. or Mrs. Courageous? Well, no – at least, not yet. But until then, the way to overcome your fears is through good old-fashioned work on yourself.
Here are a few tips on how to conquer your fears. Follow these suggestions and apply them to every aspect of your life. Through the slow and steady building of habits, you’ll develop the ability to control and eventually calm your sense of anxiety or nervousness.
How to Overcome Your Fears
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
– Mark Twain
These techniques need to be consciously applied in your daily life, with both patience and perseverance. Overcoming your fears is a long journey, and there is no simple, one-step solution. You have to work at it every day. Stay focused, and always remember that mastering fear is the first major step along the road to success.
Leave Your Comfort Zones Behind
Overcoming your fears has a lot to do with your attitude towards being safe. Does your desire for safety lead you to avoid taking risks? Human beings are wired to avoid risk, but this is exactly what’s holding you back. In order to master your fears, you must challenge the instinct to always remain safe and secure. After all, safety is always just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. Don’t know what I mean? Well, just think of everyone who lost their “secure jobs” and “safe investments” during the 2008 economic crash.
Instead of clinging to a false sense of security, learn to value courage. Understand that you need to be bold enough to confront the challenges in your life. Get out of your comfort zone and explore your edges. You’ll surprise yourself with what you’re capable of once you dare to leap. Life might be scary and full of risks, but if you learn to embrace them and prepare for them instead of fighting or fleeing from them, you’ll awaken your vast untapped potential and discover things about yourself you never knew. You’ll gain confidence in yourself by knowing that you are able to jump into the pool and teach yourself to swim. This changes everything.
The book Overcome Fear and Self-Sabotage by Haoting Chow is a great guide for those who want to train their mind to cleanse it of all the negative mindsets that have been slowing you down. It’s a short and cheap read, and well worth the time and money.
Know When Your Fears Are Irrational
Fear is actually a survival instinct, an evolutionary mechanism that we developed to help us avert danger. Fear tells us not to jump off the roof of a 30-storey building or to jump in front of a moving vehicle. You can refer to this kind of fear as “caution.” Some caution is obviously necessary, but too much of it in our modern lives is used to justify irrational fears.
Irrational fears are those that stop us from doing things that carry little to no true risk. You have to learn to differentiate between the two. For instance, being afraid to start your own business is an irrational fear. We avoid it because we fear the unknown. We start thinking of all the scenarios where it could go wrong. We’re afraid of what people will think of our “crazy idea,” afraid that we’ll lose money, afraid that we won’t be able to get another job if it fails. We’re just afraid.
When faced with uncertainties, we often fixate on the worst-case scenarios, but avoiding this “risk” is the only certain way to ensure your failure. You should instead focus on the positive, and put everything you have into ensuring your success. What if your idea works out better than you thought? What if you start making more money than you ever imagined?
So examine the reasons behind your fears — is it caution or irrational fear? — and focus on the positive.
Always Be Prepared
Another important technique for overcoming your fears is to prepare yourself. One of the reasons we worry about doing things is that we feel unprepared. When we attempt a challenge without adequate preparation, our anxieties kick in, and we are doubly sure to fail. Sometimes, we even self-sabotage this way by leaping into something unprepared and failing, only to convince ourselves that the doubts we had at first were justified. It’s a vicious cycle.
Instead, learn to prepare. Have a job interview next week? Prepare for it by thinking of all the potential questions they could ask and practising your answers. Want to start a business? Do your research first. Read a few books on how to start your own business, and find out where others have often failed. Preparation, and a proper one at that, can give you the confidence you need to attain your goals.
At the same time, it’s important to realize that you can never be 100% prepared for anything. Never let this become an excuse for not trying, or for not starting the journey towards what you’ve always wanted to do. Do what you need to do to make sure you are as ready as you can be for the challenge at hand.