When I was 22 years old, I started my first business while studying at the university. This was 4 years after my father’s death and I was searching for financial security for myself and the family. And I started this business with one focus in mind which is to win and to win fast. Failure was not an option for me, and I feared even thinking about it.
The business was growing, but after some years I had to close the business, because of different problems and changes that happened. This experiment taught me a lot of things. But I never thought during this moment that this experiment would be one of the most beneficial experiments that happen to me in my life. I never thought that I would owe this experiment and name it as the main reason for a lot of courageous decisions and successes that happened to me later in my life. And this is all because it made me confront my fears.
Dreams die because of fear. People stick to jobs that they hate because of fear. People stay with abusive partners because of fear. And finally, people refuse to change, because of fear.
A few seconds ago, I mentioned that my experiment at an early age helped me because it made me confront my fears. It helped me to know that life will go on no matter what happens, and no matter how big your failure is. It will not stop, and I will not die because I failed.
Later in my life, I discovered that fear creates a hidden psychological barrier in each one of us. The faster that you face and break this big psychological barrier, the better that you become later in handling it. Exactly like anything that you are doing for the first time. In the beginning, you feel worried, and you want to learn to make it correct and without messing up. But later, after doing it few times, you do not worry about this action or thing anymore or even about the outcome.
There is something else that you need to keep in your mind. The frequency of fear can be influenced by your life circumstances, your environment, your family and friends, and of course your personality. And when you are taking any new risky step in your life, you want people around you who can support you emotionally and psychologically. You want people who will encourage you rather than discourage you.
But let me tell you the hard truth so that you are ready and prepared. If you have a big dream and aiming to take a big risky step such as immigrating to another country or leaving your job to start a business or investing your money in a risky project, or even doing something that you are passionate about, you will not find a lot of support around you.
In fact, most of the people will discourage you because they are overwhelmed by the risk and how huge your dream is, or they will discourage you because they are afraid that you will succeed and hence they will not feel good about themselves.
But look at this funny point. This ‘’discouragement’’ from the people around you will get higher and higher in 3 specific phases of your life:
A- When you are young or a fresh graduate. Because from their point of view, you lack experience and still you are not serious.
B- When you are married and having a family. Because it is not appropriate for you to take risky decisions when you have a family.
C- And when you are old. Because from their point of view it is already late to follow your dream or to do something that you want.
Which leave us with two scenarios where people will not discourage you through your lifetime: when you are a baby and when you die.
Everybody should have a dream. Everybody should have a goal in life and something that he wants to reach. And everybody has the right to do his best to chase this goal no matter how risky or big it is.
Now let me share with you some tips that can help you in confronting your fears:
1- You must understand that fear is an emotion, and it comes from association. You are not afraid of the situation or the action itself. You are afraid of the picture you associate with the outcome of this Action or situation.
That’s why some people are afraid of dogs and some not. The dog is the same, but the reaction of the people to it is different based on their mental representations and what they associate with the dog.
So, if you feel afraid of something then ask yourself ‘’What mental representations am I associating with the outcome of this action or thing?’’ And then ask yourself ‘’Are they true? Do I have evidence that these representations are correct?’’
2- Any important new activities that you will do or decision that you will make will make you feel afraid, and maybe you will have a stomach ache. This is normal.
For example, if you have an interview for a new job that you are dreaming of, then you will feel afraid. If you speak in public, you will feel afraid. And if you are going on a trip to a totally new location, you may feel afraid. This is normal because you feel that you are not in control of the situation and you cannot guarantee the outcome.
In fact, we are wired as human beings to feel the fear because fear protects us from doing stupid actions.
So, you must be smart enough to see this pattern each time you are doing something new. You must be smart enough to know in advance that you will feel afraid and worried. Do not take this feeling as a warning sign or a reason to get discouraged or run away from the situation.
3- When you feel afraid, acknowledge it and do not fight against it. There is nothing called ‘’eliminate’’ fear or ‘’get rid of’’ fear. You can only learn to control fear through controlling the way you respond to it.
I am a public speaker, and each time I go on stage to give a speech, I feel afraid. This is something positive because this feeling helps me prepare well and to take the speaking opportunity seriously. The people who see me speaking on stage say that I am super confident and that I am not afraid at all. But, I am. I am afraid, but I learned to contain this fear and to control my emotions.
4- It’s o.k to make mistakes. It is o.k to make wrong decisions or to take wrong actions. In the end, what is the worst thing that can happen? And I promise you; you will not die (unless you decided to jump from the window or to do a crazy action which I do not recommend of course).
Believe me, when I say, there is no joy in living a life full of certainty and where you can guarantee the outcome of your actions all the time. Because if this happens, you must know that you are not doing anything new.
Fear will stop you from doing a lot of wonderful things that you can do to help yourself, your family and the people around you.
Fear will stop you from reaching your full potential in life and from achieving your dreams and goals.
So, if you want to change your job, then change it. If you want to start a business, then start it. If you want to take a risky action that can define your future and you believe in it, then take it. And again, I promise you; you may fail. But you will not die.
But even if you failed, you will break an internal psychological barrier, and next time you want to take a risky action, it will be easier for you. This I promise you.
I faced my fears, and now it’s time that you face yours.
Let me know your opinion in the comments section below.