What fears do you have when you think of achieving your dreams or goals?
Fear is a very, very powerful block to success. It is one of the biggest destroyers of dreams and ambitions simply because it can lead to in action.
It can produce a paralysis so powerful that many are never ever able to break out it. Those who are unable to pass through life unfulfilled, unaccomplished and filled with regret.
It is an even worse problem to face than discouragement because with it you never even get off the starting line. If you remain too scared to move you are definitely not going to get the things you want.
Overcoming fear is one of the most important skills you will ever need to master on your journey to success. In this blog post, I want to help you push past whatever fears you may have about living out your dreams or going after your goals.
The purpose of fear
Let’s take a look at the good things about fear. Yes, fear does have a good purpose. It’s first and foremost job is to keep you safe from harm and danger.
Another purpose of fear is to ensure that you do a thorough check before you do something your mind or subconscious perceives as dangerous.
For example, if you’re about to carry a kettle of boiling water, your mind communicates to you all the necessary things you need to do before lifting it out self-preservation i.e the fear of getting burnt.
Another more practical example will say if you got a loan from an uncle to start a business.
The responsible you will be afraid of wasting the money. In order to do your best not to lose it, you will not carelessly jump into any business you see instead you would ask for advice about how to best invest the money, make a plan etc
In those two examples, as you can see fear has served a good purpose.
Another thing fear does is to shield you from unpleasant situations. Unpleasant situations are sometimes not safe. But this is not the case all the time. In fact, some unpleasant situations are good for you.
Unfortunately fear does not distinguish between safe unpleasantness and that which is really not safe and this is when the problem usually starts. Our nature is to get away from unpleasant situations whether they are good or bad for us.
In such cases, we need to control our fear and when we are unable to do so the fear stops its job has a danger or exercise caution alarm and begins to control us to the point of paralysis.
I hope you not getting confused? Don’t be. Just keep reading.
You may wonder first what kind of unpleasant situations are actually safe here are a few simple examples:
Knowing you need to sit down and study a subject you don’t like or you are struggling with.
Having to take bitter medication, or an injection, or even undergo surgery.
All your friends can dance Shaku Shaku but you can’t. Anytime you try they laugh so you don’t try any more. Soon you don’t like to dance. You have become afraid of dancing because you don’t want to be laughed at.
You wrote and failed an exam. Your Mum screams at you. Your Dad says you’re wasting his money your uncle and aunt say they are disappointed.
This is a very unpleasant situation to be in. The next time you have to write the exam you remember all that happened the last time you wrote it. You don’t want to write the exam. You have become scared of exams.
So from the above examples, you can see how a number of unpleasant situations can be physically harmless but are still able to induce fear in you.
Another way we acquire paralysing fear is by learning it from others usually the people we trust to keep us safe like our parents or siblings.
They could be afraid of things like rats or cockroaches or even something as mundane as keeping money in the bank or investing. And just seeing their fear as a child is enough to make you afraid even now as an adult.
Personally, I confess to being terrified of cockroaches especially the big flying ones. I have had two very unpleasant experiences with them as a child. I can’t stand them.
Now I work hard not to show my fear in front of my kids so they don’t inherit it. But ko easy. 🙂
So if you grew up with people who are naturally afraid of a lot of things chances are you too would have learnt how to be afraid of a lot just like them.
Now with all that I have said so far, you must have come to realise two things: how fears come about and how some fears may be unpleasant but are not necessarily harmful in the physical sense. The damage they do is in the mind.
Here is what you really need to understand: the fear of some of the things you find unpleasant or uncomfortable especially in the mind is what destroys your ability to succeed in life.
Repeated failures of things like exams, or at jobs or goals can make you become very afraid to continue to try at them.
But if you don’t face them. You are not only going to become even more scared but it can get to the point where you are too paralysed to do anything about it. A situation you don’t want to find yourself in.
And you can say bye bye to your dreams because they will remain just that: nothing but dreams.
So what is the solution? How do you confront your fears and push past them?
You have taken the first partial step by reading this post this far. Understanding a problem is the first thing to do. Once you understand it you are then in a position to look for a solution.
To complete this step the next thing you need to do is identify specifically what your fears are for example it could be something like the need to writing Jamb again for a second or third time.
You find Possible Solutions such as:
Is there something you should be doing differently?
Are you really working hard to pass?
Should you be reading more or getting help?
Perhaps instead of science-based subjects, you should be doing arts instead?
Perhaps trying a non-degree option is best for you for now.
Trying to find practical solutions is one way of eliminating your fear of a particular problem.
The more you face down your fears the smaller it becomes until it becomes barely noticeable if not completely gone.
The converse is also true the more you run the more fearful you become.
Everyone on planet earth is afraid of something. It’s just that some people have mastered the art of doing what needs to be done in spite of it. They make their determination and courage greater than their fear. No one that you see doing something heroic, courageous or risky is without fear. They just have it well under control and choose to face it head-on.
Rationalize your fear
You can also conquer your fear by simply taking a hard logical look at it.
And so what if you try dancing Shaku Shaku and your friends’ laugh will their laughter kill you? If you stop trying now how on earth are you going to ever learn how to do it?
What if you make a mistake? We all make mistakes etc This type of reasoning can go a long way in helping you curb your fear and face it head-on.
Get support from people like your friends or in your network to help you overcome.
I am sure you’ve come across a couple of crazy videos where you see people do crazy things that make you laugh.
If you notice they usually have a group of friends egging them on. The same principle can be applied here.
You can secure the help and support of your network to help you overcome whatever fears you may be having over something.
“Friends I have always wanted to learn how to dance shaku shaku please I need your help.”
Or “I always become nervous during interviews what can I do to overcome it?” If they are good friends they will have your back as all good friends should.
This works particularly well if they have gone through that same fear as well.
Deal with your fear immediately
The minute you fear of something is developing the best time to tackle it is immediately. Nip the fear right in the bud and stop it from taking root and growing.
A short story worth sharing here: a young child of about three years old was being thought how to swim. Unfortunately while practising she drank quite a bit of water and naturally she became scared.
The seasoned instructor after she had calmed down carried her back into the water and began to splash and play. After while the fear left the child and she too began to play.
The child eventually learned how to swim.
Fake the courage
You’ve just entered the room to face the three-man panel whose job it is to interview you. You can hear your heart beating loudly in your ears. Your stomach is forming knots. Though the air conditioning is on your feeling hot. And you are scared to death.
What do you do?
You smile and greet them with a strong handshake and look them in the eye.
And that is how to fake the courage you need to get through the interview. I guarantee you that a lot of people do this all the time not only to pass interviews but to conquer all kinds of fears.
The term fake it till you make it works. And it can be applied to any situation.
If you want to be confident start by projecting that confidence. No one knows what is going on inside you. No one knows what is going on inside anybody. And the beauty about this is after a while you no longer need to fake it.
The confidence or whatever feeling you want to have that is not fear becomes a part of you. It becomes a reality.
At times all you need is to imagine the right motivation
Let’s say you are scared of heights but you need to climb a pole to get something done. You’ve told yourself nothing on earth will ever make you climb one.
But if there was an added incentive say a scholarship to any university of your choice would you climb it? Or to escape a lion would you not do it?
All of sudden the impossible beginnings to look possible you may find yourself accessing the pole and convincing yourself that you just maybe be able to do it.
If you’re ready to face a particular fear under extraordinary circumstances then you can do it now. This is a simple method that can be quite effective.
Now for the last but one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal to overcome your fears.
You are young and that means you can afford to make mistakes. You can afford to fail, learn from that failure and start right back up. You have time to take risks. So take them.
You can try something over and over again until you get it right. Or even move on to something else. This is the best time to try anything you want and see how it goes.
Know this: successful people take risks all the time.
So don’t let your fears keep you from trying or doing. You cannot cross to your dreamland if you allow your fear stop you. It is not an option not if you want to get to the top.
Over to you. I would like to know: what techniques do you use to overcome your fears?