The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it, he cannot act till then.”
– Thomas Carlyle
Knowing your fears is only a portion of the battle.
It’s a starting point. However, sometimes knowing something does nothing more than reinforce it. For example, knowing that I’m afraid of heights has allowed me to justify not doing things, rather than dealing with them. If my friends wanted to climb to the top of an 80 story hotel and then ride the glass elevator to the bottom, I would promptly decline because I’m afraid of heights. Instead, a more productive use of my understanding I’m afraid of heights would be to welcome the opportunity to face it and to take that elevator ride.
The same goes for a fear of failure: knowing that you’re afraid to fail doesn’t help you push forward if you simply put things off because you think you won’t succeed – it leaves you with a portfolio of unfinished works, anyone of which could have been something had you just stuck with it.
No one else is going to remove your fears. There is no medicine that you can drink or sentence a person can speak that will erase your fears. The miracle medicine is your mind and the inspirational sentences are your thoughts. You must be the one to take charge and eliminate the obstacles that are holding you back.
Think of how many times you’ve heard someone (and even yourself!) go on about something they want to do and when asked why they aren’t doing it they give the response, “Well, it would never work because of this, this, and this.”
Being practical is important, but acting boldly and confidently can be just as important – especially if that practicality has stopped becoming useful and intelligent, and started becoming fearful and a hindrance.
Fighting the Good Fight
Someone once said, “Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.” The same can easily be said about fear: great ideas may knock a few times, but fear leans on the doorbell. Great ideas are thought up all the time and not nearly as many are implemented with any real zest. Why? Fear, that’s why.
So how do we combat this nuisance?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Tess Marshall wrote a wonderful article outlining 9 ways to face your fears:
1. Get Comfortable with Fear – “Your world expands as your courage expands.”
2. Make Your Dominant Thoughts Positive
3. Don’t Give Time, Attention, or Energy to Fear
4. Never Dwell on Scarcity
5. Revisit Your Victories
6. Live Vicariously Through the Victories of Others
7. Ask Your Family and Friends for Encouragement
8. Create a Support Group of Friends and Colleagues
9. Plan to Be Great
We control our thoughts and our lives and what we do with them. If we decide to live a life full of fear, then we’ll never accomplish anything. If we decide to live a life of boldness and passion, a life we know we’ll win at, then no matter how many iterations of ideas we have, we know one will stick.
So the next time you’re afraid of failure or afraid to move forward, remember this: