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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

When I Stopped Being Afraid To Make Mistakes, I Started To Live A Better Life

When I Stopped Being Afraid To Make Mistakes, I Started To Live A Better Life

We’ve all been there. Stuck at a crossroads, trying to make a decision that will change the rest of our life.

Doubt creeps in, and you remember all the times you tried something out in the past and screwed it up. This time you might mess it up, too. You might make the wrong move. You might fail. And so, you punk out.

You don’t go up to that girl you’ve fancied for two years and ask her out. You don’t begin that new job search or look up apartments to rent in that exciting new city. You’re scared of making a mistake, and it can be debilitating.

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Fortunately, I have a few nifty ideas that helped me to make a change whilst I was going through this very experience. Thankfully, I am now more free to do what I want without worrying so much about the “what ifs”. Here’s how:

Remember, everyone makes mistakes

It’s true. We all mess up sometimes, and we all worry that we might feel that same rush of shame or embarrassment we felt last time. Once you push past this worry, however, you’ll feel a rush of relief in knowing that it was the fear holding you back that was the real problem. The mental blocks are actually just as bad as the time when you first made the mistake.

Being held back by insecurity can make you feel like there is a stranglehold on your autonomy. So, don’t let it rule you – take that first step.

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Make a decision

As Will Smith says, there is power in making a decision and running with it, even if you are not 100% sure. Deciding how you want your future to be will mean you cannot “fail” as much. That’s because you can always try something different if the first option didn’t work out. If you know “how it’s going to be, and who you are going to be,” then minor setbacks won’t bother you as much.

You will regret what you didn’t do more than what you did, even if some things you attempted didn’t go quite right

The unfortunate truth is that mistakes are inevitable. This fact sucks, but once you get over it, you realise that even mistakes can be useful to you. The same way that pain can make you wake up and realize what you appreciate most in life, mistakes wake you up and say “hey, stupid, it’s time to grow!”

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Just because you supposedly got something “wrong” doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or a failure. It means that you’re learning, you’re growing. And it means you will come back next time just as fierce, but with more knowledge and power behind you. Next time, you will be wiser, and you will have a greater grasp on life than ever before. But if you don’t do anything for fear of messing up, you never learn anything, other than that you wish you had!

If you plant a positive seed today, you will be set up for success tomorrow

Yes, mistakes are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to set yourself up for disaster. It’s simple: if you’ve got something you’re worried about doing, then prepare – go over your presentation script a hundred times until you feel confident about it, or get up on stage so you feel more comfortable doing it.

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Whatever it is you need to do to prepare for a moment of opportunity, do it! That way, any mistakes you were worried about won’t even bother you – because you’ll know you’ve got this.

So, I hope this article helped you if you are now where I have been in my life: letting your fear of mistakes hold you back. You’d be amazed at how your life can change once you start changing your own rules. Don’t let this fear diminish how awesome you can be. Because when we’re not holding back on who we really are, we can find that we are more powerful than we ever imagined.

Featured photo credit: Vimeo via images.google.fr

More by this author

Daniel Owen van Dommelen

Coder, Director, Writer, Human

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

The question is, where does it come from?

Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

What Is Fear, Really?

This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

    Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

    These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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    The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

    How to Overcome Fear

    Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

    1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

    There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

    In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

    What makes you feel afraid?

    Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

    This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

    Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

    As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

    2. Practice Gratitude

    If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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    When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

    Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

    In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

    Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

    Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

    The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

    You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

    3. Release Control

    Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

    In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

    Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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    In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

    The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

    The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

    Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

    True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

    4. Recite Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

    Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

    Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

    The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

    Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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    Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

    5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

    Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

    I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

    Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

    When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

    Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

    Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

    More on How to Overcome Fear

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

    Reference

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