Can you remember the last time you really wanted to do something, but didn’t? What stopped you, what changed your mind? Was it that voice inside your head? Have you ever stopped to question, who and what that voice is? Fear. Fear is the catalyst for inaction. Fear is the voice that tells us, if we try, the probability of failure will be higher than that of success, that rejection is more likely than acceptance, fear is the impetus that makes us do nothing instead.
In his most recent novel, ‘Aleph’, Paolo Coehlo says that, it’s in fact, not courage but willpower that leads to success. He says that willpower provides us with the determination and dedication required to pursue our dreams and not the absence of fear.
If we look at all of the successful people in the world, Ghandi, Steve Jobs, Mandela, Donald Trump, above all else, they possessed the fortitude to keep going. They all experienced issues along the way, however, when they embarked on their journey, they never anticipated the road to be a smooth one. So any problems they encountered, motivated them more, they chose to keep going when others would have given up, they chose to fight not retreat, they chose … freedom.
Here is a list of points to help you overcome your fears:
1) Feel the fear and do it anyway
You might remember this title from the best selling book by Dr Susan Jeffers. In her book, Dr Jeffers talks about developing assertiveness and challenging our negative thought patterns. She also talks about how we can extend our comfort zone by taking risks. The message to be learned then is that the only way we can overcome our fears is by confronting them. Put your fear aside, and just do it.
2) Go beyond reason
I recently watched the film ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’. Following the movie, I was researching the events of 911 on the Internet, and I came across an article listing accounts of several people who were delayed on that fateful day. People lost their car keys, others were caught in traffic, one woman was late for work because she forgot to set her alarm, another man got stuck on the freeway because of an accident … the stories are endless.
Sometimes we’re not aware of the master plan, the grand design and it isn’t until some time has passed, when we reflect back, we possess an understanding of why we met someone, why we missed that train or that an unforeseen obstacle or delay was in fact a blessing in disguise or the universe conspiring. Call it destiny, serendipity but regardless, remember, there is always a reason why things happened, even if we’re not aware of it at the time.
3) Too little, too late
Eight years ago my father was diagnosed with reflux. After a further year with no resolve, he decided to seek a second opinion. However, it was too late, the doctor diagnosed him with liver cancer which was in the advanced stages, and he was given 2 months to live. That was in November of 2004, by January the following year, he had passed. When my sisters and I were sorting through his papers, we came across a visa application for Burma. My father had left his home town 35 years ago and had always vowed to return. Have you heard the expression ‘too late she cried’? If my father had sought a second opinion sooner or not waited 35 years to return to Burma, perhaps this story would have a different ending. That holiday you’ve never had, the language class you never enrolled in, the friend you never made amends with, don’t find yourself saying, ‘I always wanted to … ‘ instead, write your bucket list and start planning your goals.
If you ever speak to those that are somewhat older and wiser, they will tell you that, in life, we usually regret the things we didn’t do, rather than the things we did. If you spend your life procrastinating, you will never know the outcome. And remember, no result is a negative one. It’s what you make of your experiences, every moment, every encounter shapes you, bringing you to the point in your life, you’re at now. A wise man once said,
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”
5) Finding Obstacles
How many times have you found yourself making an excuse for why you haven’t done something? ‘It’s too hard … I’m too tired … I haven’t got time?’ Does that sound familiar? We are all perpetrators of that mind set at one time or another in our lives, however, successful people invest the time and effort even when they don’t feel like it. Successful people do things the things that others find difficult. They take calculated risks, they are accountable for their actions, they have initiative are motivated, passionate and encourage others. They weren’t born successful or ‘lucky’, they achieved their goals through determination, hard work and by being fearless, they have courage of their convictions. They find opportunities … not obstacles.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway.