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14 Ways to Be Fearless

14 Ways to Be Fearless

We all have fear – it’s an emotion that’s as normal as breathing.

The problem is that most people cling to their fears, and are therefore unable to move forward in their lives with necessary change.

I have learned a lot about fear in my life as a professional musician, and I’ve learned that the only difference between people who achieve greatness and those who do not is that the former ditched their fear.  Many of the methods I have used to prepare for huge performances have helped me to conquer fear in other areas of life.

Here’s how you can start overcoming fear:
1. Be aware of fear in your life. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to admit that you have it. Perhaps fear is your “normal” state of being, and that is quite a bit to overcome all at once.  Write down some aspects of your life where have fear;  getting them down on paper is important, because trying to simply think them through never works.

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2. Stare at fearless people.  Fill your brain with images of what you want your “future self” to look like.  Connect with as many role models as you can, whether in person, through a book, or online.  Use these examples as an energy source to combat your fear.

3. Be objective. Take an interest in investigating your fears. Ask yourself about what thoughts generate your fear, where you feel the fear, and how you react to it. Try to be an objective observer of your own life.

4. Be willing to look stupid.  Remember:  Wayne Gretzky fell on his tail a ton, and Itzhak Perlman has had horrible performances.  Once you are willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes, you will shed more fear than you ever imagined.  Know that making mistakes will help you obtain information you use to create the correct behaviors, and that everyone who has ever done something great has failed more than once.

5. Adopt a mindset of gratitude. Whenever you feel fear, try to feel grateful instead. I have been performing a lot of solos recently, and it is scary!  Instead of freaking out, I have decided to be grateful for the opportunity to communicate musically with so many people, and I know that they are there to genuinely listen to me play and root me on.

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6.  Seek out teachers.  It’s never too late to have a teacher; we are never done learning.  Seek out someone who scares you a littlenot a polite person who always makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  Seek out someone who watches you closely, is brutally honest, and gives clear directions on how you can get better at whatever scares you.

7. Share. How often do we hold the negative in because we are afraid of how others might react?  Sharing helps, because you will realize that many people feel the same way as you do, and have stories to share as well.  Do you have a fear of success, or a fear of failure?  Sharing with someone can help you examine what you truly want from life, and where your fears come from.

8. Embrace struggle.  Most of us instinctively avoid struggle, because it feels like failure, and that scares us, but the term “no pain, no gain” holds true.  To develop our skills, it is a necessity that we struggle, so we must embrace it.  Once we struggle, fear slowly disintegrates.

9. Read. My personal favorite. Reading a good book related to your specific fear can open new doors on how you can get rid of it. I constantly fill my world with motivational and inspirational books on, and related to, the topic I’m dealing with.

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10. Use visualization. Imagine yourself in a scary situation without fear. Watch people do things fearlessly that would normally freak you out.  Visualize yourself as that person.  Create a very clear picture of fearlessness in your mind.

11. Put things in perspective. Putting your negative thoughts in perspective is a huge way to overcome fear. In the grand scheme of life, why are you afraid? While you are freaking out about something, life is moving on without you.  Sometimes it’s helpful to remember this.

12. Release control. Of course we want to be in control, but when we relinquish it we tend to free ourselves up.  Allow yourself to make mistakesafter all, that’s where learning and growth really happens.  We learn from our failures, but to fail we need to release control.

13. Think about the worst case scenario. What’s the worst that could happen? I have crumbled on stage in front of hundreds of people. My wife still loved me; I lived. Life goes on.

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14. Look within. What is the root of your fear? Meditate on it. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started: How far back does your fear go? Did you have an early failure that has stuck with you?  Explore it.  That’s what life is all about.

Overcoming fear requires a growth mindset; an attitude that we can grow and change if we choose. Nothing is “locked in” forever; we can change.  It takes time and practice.  Hopefully the tips above will help you begin your journey to ditch fear.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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