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Fearless Living: Do What You Are Afraid to Do

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Fearless Living: Do What You Are Afraid to Do

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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