“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find what he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do”. Henry Ford
What is fear?
A simple check on the dictionary app built into my computer, reveals that fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Each and everyone of us is held hostage to this emotion, the feeling of unknown consequences, that creeps in when we are in the cusp of doing something far different from our normal routine. We humans like routines till we are bored of them, we like order, we like systems and process that work for us. We like to control our circumstances and we would always like to setup ourselves for success.
Fear to us is the biggest anathema to everything that we would like to control. Most of the time, fear works in our minds and from there to our hearts. Fear curtails our thinking process and prevents us from achieving our best potential. With time, fear becomes ingrained in us till we are convinced that achieving something is simply impossible.
Where does our fears come from?
- Unlearnt lessons from our experiences: Throughout our lifetime we are exposed to a million experiences. One thing that is common in these diverse and mostly unrelated experiences is the fact that there are lessons to be learnt from them. Sometimes we learn from these experiences because they tend to happen again and again till we learn. Most of the time we do not learn from our experiences and mostly they end up manifesting as our fears.
- We do not believe in miracles: In addition to point 1, our stubbornly secular affirmation and logic thinking prevents us from accepting anything that is a miracle. It happens from a consistent effort to rationalize the simple fact that something that is impossible could ever happen. For e.g., in a match between haves and havenots, how many of us root for the underdog? Even today after a million examples in history, we would never believe in miracles.
- Belief in yourself: Life is a struggle, no doubt about it. With a strong sense of self belief and self confidence one needs to feel for himself so that he could live his life and withstand its darts effortlessly. This self confidence doesn’t come overnight. It requires constant practise by meditation or even belief in a supernatural being or thought. Ancient people worshipped everything because they felt that such a belief and understanding took them to the next level. Many of their beliefs are now being verified by science.
How do we conquer our fears?
Living in fear of God, or any belief makes us believe that we can achieve greater things. But living in fear of temporary issues is/are simply futile. Living in fear is a huge waste of one’s time and life. These periods could be effectively used in something meaningful such as creative pursuits of one’s soul or creating lasting value for your family or community. We cannot and should never live a life of fear. We should either believe in God or any supernatural being and affirm with ourselves that all things are possible. We can conquer or make an effort to attack or fears by doing some of the following:
- Make a list of our top 10 fears and write a line next to them why we consider them as our fears. For example, driving a motor vehicle is a constant source of worry for many people. To many people, seeing a busy traffic road, causes them to shiver, sweat etc.
- Make a list of people who successfully do what you are mostly afraid of doing. For example, make a list of your closest friends who are better drivers than you are.
- Initiate a one-on-one private conversation and communicate with them your fears while doing such an activity. Ensure that you record the feedback in your list.
- Analyze the feedback to your fears and how your closest friends tackle them.
- Make changes to your activity in private by yourself or in the presence of your friends, provided that they do not have issues in volunteering to help you tackle your fears.
- Ensure that you consistently practise and record your learnings.
- With time, your confidence builds up and you can strike off one fear from your list.
- Repeat all the steps for the next item in your ‘fear’ list.
Conquer your fears. You live just once. Live it king size. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” Franklin Roosevelt.