There are a lot of ways we can be challenged in life — a lot of circumstances that directly affect the way we see and face the world. Fear is a large contributing factor that can be crippling and force us into submission. A simple word with only four letters, but lives and breathes in us in all different ways. First, I’m going to talk about fears- what they are, why we have them and what they mean. Then, I’m going to give you some tips that show you how to deal with them. Finally, I’m going to ask you to do something — let’s see if you’re up to the task.
If you were given a blank page and asked to write down your fears- what first comes to mind? Are you able to pick them out of your subconscious and put pen to paper? In the spirit of vulnerability, I’ll show you some of mine.
My family members losing all of their hard earned money
My parents not being proud of me
Being alone indefinitely
Moving home paradigm
Something happening to my family while I am away
Repeating family trends
Not having my voice heard
Not seeing enough of the world
Flying in a plane
Fear can show itself in many forms. Below is something called the feararchy. Ego Death, Separation, Loss of Autonomy, Mutilation and Extinction are all overarching “categories” of fear. For example, loss of autonomy is the fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, restricted etc. but can also be directly correlated to claustrophobia and anxiety. The most common fears are ego-based fears. Fear of failure, success, humiliation, loss, uncertainty, etc. While some of these, or all of these, might touch a part of your soul — there is one thing to remember. These fears are not real and you must actively participate in reminding yourself of that.
So where do you go now? When you know what your fears are, and even where they stem from, but don’t know how to help yourself. You look to Tim Ferriss — or at least that’s what I did. I watched his TED Talk about fear setting and his 3 steps you can take to conquer your fears.
First you need to define your fears. Once you have realized what your fears are, write them down and put them into the universe. Then take a step back and truly think about them. Evaluate them. Are these all ego-based fears? What could be the root cause? Why is this a fear you have?
Next, ask yourself: What can I do to prevent my fear from happening? (Or atleast decrease the likelihood.) Rather than allowing fear to take over, you have to look at it like a relationship. If you aren’t actively working to make it better, then it will always stay where it is. Prevention is the hardest step in my opinion; it causes us to find the root, rip it out, and nurture the soil to stop more weeds from growing.
Lastly, think about your fears happening, what could you do to repair and/or mend the issue. What steps would you take if it actually happened. If you lost your job, if your parents weren’t proud of you. One could make the argument here about death — some people believe death to be certain. You die and then nothing happens afterwards. If one of your biggest fears is death, the repair portion comes with evaluation. Why are you afraid of dying? Maybe that you will bring pain to the people you leave behind? Because you don’t want to be in pain? You might surprise yourself with the answer.
So what now? Now you act. I’m not talking about on the big screen kind of acting, I’m talking about making moves and actually doing shit. Because not doing anything is something called The Cost of Inaction. When you do absolutely nothing about talking about or overcoming your fears, they get worse and more crippling. Think about 6 months from now, 3 years from now, even 6 years from now — where will you be if you don’t move towards a better quality of life with less fear?
Through my research, I learned a lot about fear, where it stems from, why we fear. But most of all, I learned what I can do to prevent mine. I know that my fear feels real in my head — there have been times when I haven’t done things because I’ve been too “scared.” I’m no longer going to sit something out simply because I’m afraid, and I challenge you not to either. Fear is a wall we’ve built blocking us from the world. The internal battle is whether to knock it down or not. I hope these insights will help you knock down your fear walls.