You’re frozen in your tracks, heart is racing, sweating, the hair on your neck is standing up; you have to face it, you are afraid. Everyone is afraid of something. For some people it is heights, for others it is spiders, and for many it is public speaking. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that we can feel. It has more control over us than we would like. It can stop us from asking a question, it can make us walk away from a great opportunity, and if you let it, it can ruin your life.
What is the point of fear and why is it so powerful? In the beginning fear was our first warning sign against danger. It was our internal protection system. When the cavemen saw a tiger on the prowl, fear would make them freeze and possible save their lives. However, now that we are more advanced as a society this internal protection system is out of date. Fear still stops us from doing dangerous things but it does more harm than good these days. For example just like fear made the cavemen freeze in the face of a tiger, it makes us freeze in the face of a cute girl/guy we want to talk to. Instead of saving our lives like the cavemen, fear now ruins or lives and takes away opportunities.
So the question is how do we update our system, or how do we face our fear? The first thing to do is realize what you are actually afraid of. To learn the importance of realizing your fears you can read my post here. If you do not know what it is that scares you, you can’t do anything about it. The steps that you need to take to face fear are: stop thinking, start thinking differently, take action, and use fear against itself.
Stop thinking some much about the decision you make and just go after them. Being a college guy, it will be easiest to use the example of approaching a cute girl/guy since that’s the only thing we think about besides food and video games. When you want to approach someone who you think is cute you start thinking about what you should say, how they will react, and where it will go from there. You increase the fear you have by thinking about it, instead just act and follow my 5 second rule of life. The longer you think about it, the less likely you are going to do it. That is unless, you start thinking differently.
Most of the time you will think about the worst possible outcomes, this is the root of fear: our minds. We think negatively so we feel negatively. This is why we need to think differently. Take the approaching someone example. If you think that you will get rejected you are not going to talk to them and even if you do you are going into it thinking you are going to lose which you probably will at that point. However, if you think positively you are more likely to have a positive outcome. Besides the positive vs. negative thinking, most of our fears are irrational like this example. This is why we need to think logically. What is the worst that could happen, they say no and you move on. Although it might hurt, you are not going to die and it won’t hurt if you are exposed to it more.
That brings me to my next point on taking action. Most of the time we avoid the things we are afraid of, such as approaching strangers we want to talk to. The truth is the more you do it, the easier it is. If you approach people more you will hear the word no more but you will begin to get used to it. It won’t hurt as much and not only because you will get used to it but because you will hear yes more as well. You will get used to hearing yes, so when you hear that no it won’t be such a big deal. I know that is a lot easier said than done which brings me to my final step, using fear against itself.
For this step the quote about courage comes to mind. I do not know who originally said it but many have repeated it and it is probably clique but I love cliques. The quote is, “courage is not the absences of fear, but the presence of fear with the will to carry on.” People that are seemingly fearless are only that: seemingly fearless. They are not actually fearless, they have fears they just have courage to go along with it. There courage is powered by their fear. All the symptoms from the beginning, the increase heart rate and the sweat, they are forms of energy. This energy is often turned into nerves. The people who face their fears use this energy to fuel them. They take those nerves and put them to good use. They would take the nerves they felt in approaching that cute person and use it to make themselves have an energetic personality.
Yes, all this stuff is easier said than done but it can be done; and once it is done you can achieve great things. You can open up your world to new possibilities and opportunities. Just start off with small things and work your way up from there. Try to control fear and take the power it has over you away because once you do that there is no telling what you can do.