We all have fears. Some of them are rational and are a necessary part of our survival strategy. Others prevent people from doing a lot of things. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that these other, irrational fears are what keeps most people from achieving greatness – whatever one means by this word.
From this you can make a conclusion that learning how to deal with your fears is an extremely important part of taking responsibility for your life and finding ways of making it better.
There are many techniques which can help one deal with fear; not all of them will necessarily work for you. The important thing is to find one that suits you and perfect it by constant use.
One of the most popular and widely advised methods is the so-called “So what?” technique. When you know you have to do something but are afraid of starting out and start finding excuses not to do it, try to picture the absolute worst that can happen, decide how you would handle the situation and how terrible this situation is actually going to be. And then, after you picture it to yourself, ask “So what?”. Will even the worst possible outcome really be the end of the world? Is it going to be so bad that you will be incapable to find a way out?
Then take a realistic look at things and ask yourself how often the worst really comes to worst. How often do your fears actually materialize? If your life isn’t some fantastical statistical improbability, you will find out that 95 times out of 100 your fears never get real, and the remaining 5 are almost never as bad as you’ve envisioned them.
A very important tool here is laughter. It is very hard to be afraid of something you don’t treat seriously. So, next time you are afraid of something, envision the worst possible outcome – then pour some more black into it, adding new horrible details and blowing the whole thing out of proportion, to a completely apocalyptic scale. If you’ve started with something mundane, like delivering a speech or asking for a raise, the result is going to be more than a little funny – exactly what you wanted.
Another extremely powerful – yet hard – technique is to stop thinking and simply do the thing you are afraid to do. If you understand logically that it is what you should do, there is no more need to look for pretexts not to do it. Stop thinking – right now every minute spent in deliberation is nothing but a way to put off doing the necessary thing. Isn’t it better to shut your eyes and step forward? Whatever it is you are afraid of, in most cases it turns out to be much less frightening than you’ve imagined.
Fear is a tricky and complicated thing. You by no means should dismiss it outright – sometimes what fear tells you is legitimately good advice. But when it keeps telling you to stay in your old place, avoid taking any risks at all and plod on through life like you’ve always done before – it is time to start moving quicker.