I have a lot of conversations with people about life. How they are doing, what they are up to, what their goals or ambitions are. I first became interested in hearing these answers from people after hearing so many people complain about their current circumstances. What it boiled down to be a simple question, “are you doing what you want to do – and does that bring you fulfillment?” It was evident through just a short conversation that many people were spending most of their time doing things they would rather not do. But why?
Over the years, I have spoken about what I believe are the three things that stop people from living fulfilling lives and maximizing their potential. The first is fear. Fear is the greatest demotivator and is responsible for a lot of missed opportunities for people. Second is perspective. The way a person views their circumstance and abilities. How they reason and process situations in the world around them. Finally, confidence. The belief that despite other contradicting truths you may hold, you can still move forward. Today, I want to explore fear and share why I believe you should not only challenge your fears but intentionally seek to overcome them.
The only way out is through -
I like this phrase because it presents the situation as only having one answer. Research supports that confidence is diminished in situation as more options are available. Simplifying a situation to only a single option will increase focus and confidence. I used this approach heavily throughout school. Rather than focusing on the task, say a large project or term paper, I focused on the feeling and experience of finishing the task and how that would feel. “One day, this paper will be done”. This mindset pivots focus from something associated with a negative feeling to something with a positive feeling, which as a result drives motivation.
Fear and the Unfamiliar –
People fear things they do not know or are unfamiliar. Make it familiar and you will no longer fear it. The further your mind must leap to connect a current (or potential future) situation to a prior experience, the more power fear gains in unfamiliarity. Think of the last situation you were in where you experienced fear – it was probably a new experience or unlike anything you had experienced before. You probably had a lot of questions and uncertainties. What do I do? What do I say? Where do I look? Where do I go? When you cannot answer those questions, it can also feel like a lack of control over your situation as well.
Flipping a 180 on your emotions probably isn’t going to work for most people, but we can still move toward doing what we fear by embracing new experiences that challenge us. The key is to build these cognitive pathways between experiences. To do that, you may have to be intentional in creating opportunities for these experiences. A cliché example may be public speaking to large groups of people. It’s more than just ‘gaining experience’ to really be successful, you should be intentional about the experience. You could think of it as a linear progression from speaking to a small group, to a slightly larger, and so on until you are presenting to stadiums of people. When you aren’t intentional about your experiences you may end up in a new situation too far a cognitive leap from familiarity that you yield back some power to fear.
Make mistakes –
Somewhere along the line making mistakes got a bad rap. I think society has conditioned us to avoid making mistakes by associating mistakes with punishment, when in fact mistakes should be encouraged. You should look at opportunities with great potential rather than in fear of making a mistake. With this mindset, I believe more people would be doing stuff and challenging themselves and growing as individuals. One of my favorite sayings, “How do you become an expert at anything – make enough mistakes.” Through those experiences you are continuing to grow as a person which gives you greater perspective.
Fear can and will hold you back from many opportunities. It will hinder your growth and narrow your perspective. Rather, I challenge you to instead face your fears head on – challenge them – embrace them – and do what you fear.
#Entrepreneur, #Developer, #Businessman. Pouring everything I have into everything that I do. Meeting #opportunity at the door.