“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Fear is a normal human reaction that helps to protect us. It alerts and prepares us to deal with approaching danger. When we sense danger the body physically responds by increasing our heart beat, increasing our blood pressure and we also experience rapid breathing. When we are in real danger the body also physically prepares us to do one of two things – To Fight danger or Flee from danger. The body will stay in this state until the brain signals that there is no more danger.
Fear is a good thing to feel.
It sets us up for the adventure and it also prepares us to be cautious. The problem isn’t the fear, the problem is us and our reaction to the feeling of fear. When we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, to follow our dreams, to confront bullies or to stand in our power, we don’t fight the fear, instead ,we flee or we hide. We don’t use it to excite us, stimulate us, or to move us forward in life. We let fear control our lives and paralyse us. When we are reacting to fear in this way we are choosing to make decisions that are not serving us well. As John Lennon said in his quote, if we are controlled by fear we pull back from life – mediocrity and complacency become acceptable in our lives. The key to overcoming our fears is to learn to love ourselves more – even with our imperfections.
“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.”
– Dale Carnegie
I am proud to say that I am pretty close to being Fearless when it comes to me following my dream, stepping out of my comfort zone and dealing with life’s challenges . For many years I had been too fearful to step out, to be courageous and follow my dream. I had made attempts, some were successful and some were not. In my career particularly I could never get to a place in any of my jobs where I was happy. I would take on roles because I felt like I had to, or the money was good, or the job was easy, and as a result I drifted through my career doing the roles I could do rather than doing what I wanted to do.Advertising
The turning point for me was last year when I had to face my third redundancy in 18 months. It was then that I decided that I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I chose to face my fears and then I worked out how I was going to manage them. Today as I write this I can honestly say that my big fears no longer mean anything to me – I do however have a few minor ones lurking around. You never really stop being fearful, you just learn how to proactively manage your fears so that they enhance, energise and motivate you to action.
The 6 Steps to Mastering Your Fear
“Fear is a habit, so is self pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can and I will.”
– Napoleon Hill
To master my fears I used the advice of 6 Fearless people who knew what they were talking about. Hopefully these 6 tips will help you to master you fears, so that you can live the life you desire.
Before you start reading through these 6 tips please note that Acknowledging your fears is the easy part – mastering your fears is hard work and it is a life long journey.
1. Get comfortable with Fear and invite it into your life.
Do things that frighten you. Take action and face your fears – the more you do this the more confident and stronger you become.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Learn that Fear is only in our minds.
Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. We can control our fears – they don’t control us. When you start to feel afraid, acknowledge the fear, feel it and then ask yourself “what is the worst thing that could happen to me if I did it?” Is the worst that could happen as bad as what you imagine it will be? It is ok to feel afraid and scared – it is not ok to let the fear control our minds.
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca
3. Get to know your 3 Big Fears.
There are 3 Big Fears which are the source of all your fears. Write your 3 Big Fears down and then put a plan in place on how you will deal with them one by one until you feel you are in control. You need to know what you are dealing with so that you can take one step at a time.Be realistic about confronting your fears. Its a life long journey so you don’t have to rush it. You just have to keep moving forward in your life.
“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
– Judy Blume
4. Focus on the Positives’ in Your Life.
Get yourself a journal and every day for 1 month write down:
- 1 positive thing that happened to you today
- 1 thing you are grateful for in your life today
- 1 good deed that you did today where you helped someone.
At the end of the month read your journal and then write down the top 3 things that month that you feel positive about, the top 3 things that you are grateful for and the top 3 deeds that you have done where you have helped someone. If you can complete that exercise I guarantee you will start to feel more positive and you will also see a more positive picture of your future. Not one bit of fear insight.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”
– Maya Angelou
5. Be prepared for hard times and for failure.
It’s a life long journey managing your fears. Learn from other fearless people about how you can be more resilient and where you can find your courage. Resilience and courage will give you the strength and determination to master your fears.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
– Vincent Van Gough
6. Plan to Be Great.
Having a plan of action will mean that you won’t fall into the trap of giving too much time, energy or attention to fear. Be accountable and start to work toward getting results. In your Plan to be Great you need to be real about yourself and about what action steps you will need to take toward achieving your dreams. You will need to calculate, minimise and manage the level of risk – this is essential to the success of your plan. The last and the most important thing to be noted in your plan is that you are accountable for celebrating your victories. The past and the present victories need to be recorded in a journal, shared and celebrated. Please don’t forget to Celebrate because if you do forget you will find your fears will start to appear more regularly in your daily thoughts.
Become comfortable with your fears, embrace your fears and start learning how to be a master at managing your fears. Once you manage your fears then you will accomplish feats in your life that you would have thought impossible. You will find that you will be living your greatest and happiest moments when you push through the barriers of fear. Why would you not want to Master Your Fears if you know how great the rewards are?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who am I to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?”
– Marianne Williamson
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Last Updated on October 14, 2019
12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons
The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.
People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:
1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become
It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.
2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle
Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.
3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day
Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.
4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence
David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.
5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan
If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.
6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff
Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.
7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.
Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.
8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds
We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.
9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges
Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!
10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success
We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.
11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big
Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.
12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you
You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.
Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.
All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.
If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:
At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.
Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com