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10 Ways to Annihilate Fear

10 Ways to Annihilate Fear

We all have things we fear. Some fears are more concrete, like the terror of spiders and snakes, while some fears go much deeper, sabotaging us so that we are unable to follow our dreams. Too often, we avoid our fears, unwilling to acknowledge that we have them. We hope that if we don’t give breath to their existence, they will become less real… It rarely works this way.

Instead, let’s put on a brave face and tackle our fears. In the darkness of ignorance, the monsters still reign over us, but in the light of knowledge and acceptance, they are seen for what they are: simply self-made straw men—unworthy of the terror they command.

1. Give up fear of failure

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. – C. S. Lewis

Fear of failure is a huge problem for many people. Some people are so afraid to fail, they never try to do great things. However, most great successes are paved with failures. If you are afraid to fail, you will be too paralyzed to really excel. Many times, it is the failure that guides people to their greatest success. Learn to embrace it. A great question to ask yourself is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Write down your answer, and then go do it.

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2. Know thine enemy

The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it; he cannot act till then.” Thomas Carlyle

Often, when we examine fear, we see that it’s just the unknown portion that scares us. We often fear what we don’t understand. When you take the time to understand why you’re afraid, you can properly address it. Instead of looking at the future expecting the worst to happen, turn your belief system around and expect the best. Often, dwelling on our fears gives them a voice of prediction in our lives. Don’t give fear that foothold. Envision your future as one full of hope and excitement!

3. Focus on past success

Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson

Our own visualization of fear often brings it to fruition. Think about when you are about to speak in public: a huge fear for some. Instead of seeing yourself doing well, you may think about how you might stutter over your sentences. What happens? You lose your train of thought and blow the presentation. You then reaffirm the belief that messing up speeches is all that you are capable of doing. Instead, focus on your past success. Remember how you did well speaking in rehearsals and visualize yourself giving the best speech of your life. What happens? You do amazingly! Visualization techniques are utilized by athletes and businessmen alike. Instead of giving fear any credence, conceptualize yourself successfully conquering fear—what you envision often will become reality.

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4. Realize that fear is often an illusionist

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.” – Samuel Butler

Most of the things that we worry about never actually happen. Even when our worst fears do happen, we realize that it isn’t actually as bad as we believed. It’s like when you first start riding a bike: before you fall for the first time, the distance from the ground and the speed that the rocks whizz by seem so intimidating. However, once you fall and realize the actual impact isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination, you can ride confidently. Sure, it hurts to fall, but the joy of the ride is worth the risk. Give yourself permission to examine the worst-case scenario. Even if the catastrophe happened, in the grand scheme of life, is it really worth the anxiety? Probably not. You are tougher than you realize and will get through any humbling experience with more wisdom on better ways to go about your goals.

5. There are no monsters under your bed

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” – Andre Gide

Some people have unrealistic belief systems, but they don’t acknowledge how nonsensical they sound until they are forced to think it through. For example, ascribing to a belief that demands that every person you interact with will like you is doomed to failure. It’s just not logical that you can meet every expectation of every person. Accepting this fact and understanding that disappointing others will happen in life often helps people address these unrealistic beliefs that cause them anxiety.

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6. Kill the moles before they make mountains

We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” – Christian Nestell Bovee

Some people make things much worse in their own head than they are in reality, causing themselves more pain and greater fear. For example, imagine a person who fears societal judgements. They often do things they don’t want to do because they are worried that saying “no” will cause people to reject them. When asked if they would think poorly of a different individual who said they didn’t want to do something, the person will usually say that they would understand. When you ask them to turn this around and ascribe this same amiable attitude within themselves to others, they realize most people think as they do and would sympathize if they didn’t go along with their every whim. The fears in their heads make other people more easy to offend than reality.

7. Plan to strike at first dawn

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

If certain fears are crippling your life, put together a plan to stand up to them. There is no shame in seeking help from a qualified counselor. You can also share your fears with mentors and accountability partners to help you work through them. Write down goals that help you face your fears in a healthy way so you can break free to a no-limits life.

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8. Fear the un-lived life

Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” – Fernando Flores

One great visualization technique is to look at what holding onto your fear is doing to your future. Think about what would happen if you were never brave enough to change your thinking. If you are afraid to talk to others now, how will this impact your dating and social life years later? If you are afraid to take risks, what opportunities are you missing that could change your lifestyle for the better? If you are afraid to look silly at the gym, what illness can sneak into your life in a few more years due to excess weight or unhealthy habits? Let your un-altered future scare you enough to change it.

9. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

To fight fear, act. To increase fear – wait, put off, postpone.” – David Joseph Schwartz

Sometimes, you just have to jump. There are so many experiences (some did involve jumping) that I would have missed out on if I gave in to my fears. Your life will be much more full with memories of how you felt afraid, pushed past it, and learned you are stronger than you ever thought possible. Pushing past the fear creates self confidence, and you become emboldened to take on more challenges in life, even if they scare you. Once you accept that growth begins outside of your comfort zone, you are ready to challenge yourself to face your worst demons.

10. Create dreams that make you brave

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

Sometimes, people are often not motivated to face their fears because they haven’t entertained what life can be like on the other side of them. When you allow yourself to dream, suddenly your fears pale in comparison to all the excitement of the brave new world just beyond them. Create dreams that inspire change. You will find that when you let go of the fear, you really are free to become the person you always knew you could be.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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