What is your greatest fear?
Fear is a powerful emotion, and is the reason why most people don’t reach their full potential in life.
As toddlers, before we took our first step, we all had the fear of falling. Imagine how terrifying it must be for a toddler to contemplate taking that very first baby step; most of us likely fell on our first try, but we took another step. and yet another, until we could eventually crawl, walk and finally run.
Imagine if we all never took that first baby step because of fear.
It sounds unthinkable and yet a lot of us refuse to take that very first small baby step in our lives. We languish in one spot, letting fear take over our lives and condemn us to inaction. We deserve better. We all should lead fulfilling and productive lives free from the chains that fear uses to bind us, and the easiest way to get rid of fear is to demystify it. How do we demystify fear?
We demystify fear by doing what we are afraid of doing. Simply that, and nothing more.
Recently, I challenged myself to do one bold thing a day. I would think of one thing I’m afraid of doing but would like to accomplish in a given day, and then I would set a goal for myself to do that very thing.
It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes I fail, but sometimes I succeed, and when I do succeed it is an amazing feeling. I am often shocked that I was able to do what I was so afraid of doing, and the resulting effect is like having scales fall from my eyes. All of a sudden, I see new vistas of possibilities, and I believe that I can do even more things that I never imagined possible. I set even bolder goals and keep failing and sometimes succeeding. Doing this frequently lets you realize that there is no shame in trying and failing. In a sense, we must fail in order to succeed. Just like we experienced as toddlers when trying to learn how to walk, we must crawl in order to eventually learn how to run. There is no shame in crawling, falling and starting anew—this is the only way in which we can grow.
In doing this, I have also found that the most important thing is not whether I have failed or succeeded. The most important thing is that I am on my way to ridding myself of my fear of accomplishing that goal. It is like my first crawl. I might fall but after falling, I often realize that it was not as bad as I thought it would be and I keep crawling, until I start walking and eventually running. Everyone deserves that feeling of liberation- that feeling of being able to stare fear in the face and call its bluff.
The idea is to expose yourself to the potential of failing. By doing this, you reduce fear’s power over you as you are already vulnerable, thus greatly diminishing what you have to lose. The trick is in taking that first step towards taking risk in spite of fear. It’s a vulnerable state, but one that strengthens you over time.
Overcoming fear is one of the greatest battles of our lives. We owe it to ourselves to win daily small battles over fear. It builds endurance and removes fear’s power over our lives.
Wouldn’t you rather live fearlessly? I would. It starts today. Write down one thing you are afraid of doing and do it. If you fall, pick yourself up and try again. Do this over and over again until you defeat your fear of doing that thing.
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