There was a little boy at the swimming pool. His friends were making fun of him, and he was clearly nervous about something. He didn't want to jump off the diving board. He didn't do it. After his friends moved along he finally summoned up the courage and jumped off the plank. When he surfaced, he erupted from the water with a giant smile – "I did it! I conquered my fear!"
It was that simple for the boy.
Many of us live everyday wrapped up in a conundrum of anxieties, fears and insecurities. We're worried about the present, past and future. We we're about our clothes, what we said last night, spiders, theft, robbery, the weather. For some of us, our daily insecurities are the reason we spend hours rolling around in bed at night or make strange decisions during our vulnerable times.
We don't want to let our fears stop us, or get in our way. We want to walk around with confidence, be able to talk to whoever we want, and do the things we want to do. Overcoming your fears is simpler than you expect, and there could almost be a formula to it. After all, we do subconsciously everyday.
Never let fear decide your future
1. You are who you want to be
Always remember that at the end of the day, you are who you want to be. If you want to be a strong, charismatic, confident person, you must grow and train yourself to become that. You must remind yourself that in order to succeed, you must overcome your fears. If you do not, your insecurities pose a threat of taking over your true personality and commanding the avenues of your life.
Say to yourself everyday that you are strong. Remind yourself in the mirror. Watch affirmative videos that will offer you guidance. Speak to yourself until you know it to be true.
2. Fear exposure
Sometimes the only way to overcome fear is to introduce it into your life. Imagine a little boy or girl that is so scared of spiders, garden snakes, or big dogs. These are mostly harmless creatures, but to an inexperienced child they can be truly terrifying since they have no prior experience with them. But as soon as they have a few experiences, good experiences, with the animals, you can reassure them that they are not so bad, and may be on your side. This is all just practice for growing up.
Same goes for adults. If you are terrified of talking to people, practice it more often. Force yourself into casual small talk and interactions. Nothing too serious, just a few things to get yourself warmed up. Even the most elite socialites need to practice communication from time to time. It happens from the minute we wake up to the time we go to bed. We need to continue to practice our social muscles. When it is fear based, it is even more quintessential.
Fearing something will not make it disappear. If you are afraid of something terminal, like death, it is best to come to grips with that immediately. For children it is easy for them to run away and hide, but we know better than that. Consider spending time with people who are dealing with something terminal in order to recognize the bravery and composure they have during their ordeal. It is a life worth examining.
4. Find the exhilaration
How about turning your fears into something fun? Sometimes the adrenaline rush is all you need to reconnect with yourself on the inside. Do you think comedians weren't terrified the first time they went on stage? They were, but they did it and dealt with the emotional consequences. Or how about extreme sport athletes, F1 drivers, or others in high risk employment? These people risk life and limb everyday with courage, but they certainly didn't start that way. Use adrenaline as motivation to get over that hill, and you might find yourself doing something you now love.
5. Work your way through it
If you're in a pinch and your fears start coming up fast, remember to slow down. If you make decisions from a basis of fear, you're going to make some emotionally charged decisions. Use it as an exercise. Every time you feel that anxiety coming up, use it as a cue to start breathing properly and relax. Use simple mantras like "there is nothing I cannot overcome," and "there is nothing here to worry about" to give yourself real time motivation. Analyze the situation and realize, there is nothing to be worried about at all!
6. You're not alone
People find fear through a place of anxiety, and anxiety is often a lonely, isolating place to be in. We always forget that – hey! – there are a lot of other people who are also nervous about this! Lots and lots of people around you hide from anxiety and fear everyday; in fact, just about everybody. Remember that you're not the only one. The best thing to do is simply talk about it immediately with someone. The more open you are about it, the more people will help you with the problem, and you will feel better to know that everyone else knows what you're going through.