Nov 072011

If you’ve overcome your fear, and gone ahead in spite of it, you’ve accomplished the first step. Now, you’ve got to kick it while it’s down, by learning the signs of fear, how to argue with your fear, get your fear to work with you, and then to use your fear as fuel.

Learn the signs of fear.

Everyone reacts to fear a little bit differently. Some react differently to different types of fear. The same person who runs screaming at the sight of a spider might react by doing nothing when they are dealing with a fear of change. Sometimes the difference is that one fear might have a physical manifestation, while others do not. Other times, the difference is in the timeframe. The immediacy of the one fear might seem more important than a fear of death, for example. Knowing how you react to your fears, and understanding that your reaction might be different when faced with different fears, is one of the key factors in overcoming your fear, and, then turning the tables on your fear. Observe what happens when you are faced with a fear. Do you run screaming? Do you freeze in place? Do you avoid decisions?

Argue with your fear.

Just because your fear might not have a physical manifestation doesn’t mean that you can’t argue with it. Understand that fear is a manifestation of your mind. And your mind can be argued with. Fear isn’t rational. Find the rational, and logical argument against your fear. Use that argument as often as you need to debate with your fear. You might not win the first time, or the second time, but keep with it, and you’ll eventually win. And winning the argument is what will propel you into a working relationship with your fear.

Work with your fear.

Fear rarely goes away. Even the bravest people you know have fear. They’ve just learned how they react to their fear, argued with their fear, and are working with their fear. Many of the most successful people work with their fear to accomplish great things. When asked what it is that makes them so successful, they may utter a few platitudes, but, if they are honest, they will say that their fear of failure drives them to keep working, testing themselves, and overcoming until they achieve success. They work with their fear, and their fear fuel to feed their successes.

Feed off of your fear.

Successfully kicking fear while it’s down is all about making your fear work for you; using your fear as fuel to feed your success. A fear of failure, properly used as fuel, will feed you to double your efforts towards success. A fear of change, properly used as fuel, will feed you to work towards taking control of the situation so that you not only have some idea of what the change is that’s coming, but in what ways it will manifest itself.

Use your fear, manipulate your fear, and take control of your fear. Use it to fuel the successes you want in your life.

Jan 032011

One of the biggest obstacles to shrugging off the yoke of a “normal” life is getting past the fear of what might happen.  Our fear holds us in check and keeps us from experiencing life the way it is meant to be experienced.  For centuries, society has taught us that specialization in a field is the only way to succeed.  We’ve been conditioned to expect failure if we step away from that.  For many, myself included, overcoming that fear is the first step towards living the life of a 21st Century Human.  But, how do we overcome our fear?

Fear is a funny thing.  A person can experience fear of something as simple as speaking in front of a group, but feel completely at ease jumping out of an airplane with nothing but a parachute strapped on.  Fear can manifest itself in both rational and irrational ways.  Fear of speaking, for example, can be thought of an irrational fear.  After all, there’s little to no chance that the group will do anything worse than stand up and walk out of the room.

Fear, at it’s most basic, is an emotion.  Humans are an emotional being, and we use our emotions to guide us.  But, we also are built such that we can control our emotions.  We can override them.  Overcoming a fear is nothing more than controlling and overriding an emotion.  That’s at it’s most basic.

For centuries, humans have used tools to overcome difficulties.  Overcoming emotions (overcoming fear) isn’t all that much different.  If you find the right tool, you can face, and, ultimately, control and override that fear.

AraignéeRationalization can be that tool.  Give your fear a rational consequence.  Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen if I do what I fear.  Be careful, though, to not let your fear influence your rationalization of it.  For example, a possible consequence of overriding a fear of spiders is that the spider climbs up your arm and
bites you, poisoning you and resulting in your death.  But, looking at it rationally, there are very few spiders whose bite can kill you quickly enough that you can’t receive help that will save you.  So, a truly rational way to look at it would be to say that the worst that could happen is that the spider would bite you and you’d have to receive treatment for the bite and suffer a recovery period.

The same is true for most fears. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I do this? If the answer isn’t unbearable, then, your fear is unfounded.

What is your fear keeping you from doing?  Don’t let your fear override your need for happiness.  Control your fear, and overcome it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: JR Guillaumin