Fear has an evolutionary foundation. The emotion of fear was intended to keep you safe. Fear triggered the fight or flight reflex. When you felt threatened, you would either run from the danger, or fight it head on.
Fear remains as powerful an emotion today as it was eons ago. Fear is helpful when it prevents you from taking needless risks. However, fear can lead to acting contrary to your self-interests. Fear often leads to procrastination, or following the wrong path.
Debilitating fears include fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of criticism, fear of job loss, and fear of poverty. Ironically, succumbing to fear leads to the very failure you were afraid of.
For example, fear of public speaking can be debilitating. People who succumb to stage fright never speak in front of people. It’s interesting to note that there are a number of notable actors and musicians who had to overcome stage fright in order to pursue their passion. Had they succumbed to their fear, they would never have succeeded.
Fear is created in your mind by conjuring up, and obsessing about worst case scenarios. You create your own mental monster which impedes progress towards your goals. Since you have created this fear, you can also vanquish it. Replace your worst-case scenarios with best case outcomes.
Fear can be based on external factors. Such as when you are fearful of the actions other people may take if you don’t comply with their requests or demands. In this situation, you feel compelled to capitulate in order to avoid potential negative consequences. The danger here is doing things you don’t want to do, or shouldn’t be doing. Peer pressure is a classic example of this type of fear.
Succumbing to fear, whether internal, or external, invariably leads to regrets. When you act out of fear, you attract more fear. A classic example is the schoolyard bully who seeks out victims who are afraid of him, while avoiding those people who will stand up to his aggression.
You avoid things you are afraid of. Think about how great you would feel being free from the shackles of fear. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you weren’t afraid. With a determined mind, you leave fear behind you.
Whatever fears you have can be conquered. Start by identifying your fears; exactly what you are afraid of and why. Once you know what you are dealing with, you can formulate an effective strategy for overcoming your fears.
Fear feeds procrastination. Start doing what you have been afraid to do. Go wherever you are afraid to go. Any success requires taking risks. Tell yourself you will not act out of fear. You get over stage fright by speaking in front of groups. You get over the fear of saying NO by saying NO where appropriate.
Fear is based on what you think might happen. Instead of fretting over what happens if something doesn’t work, get excited over all the good which will result when something does work. Create for yourself objectives which you must attain.
Don’t permit failure to lead to fear. Just because something didn’t work as planned doesn’t mean it can’t work, or won’t work. Determine what went wrong, and why. Then go at it again after making adjustments. It took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries before creating a commercially viable electric light bulb. Edison was never deterred by a failed attempt. He kept at it until success was reached.
Act as if you’re not afraid. Your actions create emotions consistent with those emotions. Act with confidence and you will feel confident. Act successful and you will feel successful. Act unafraid and you will feel unafraid.
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