Instead of pursuing your heart’s desires, you have all these thoughts churning in your head about what could possibly go wrong, how you could end up the national joke and why it’s not worth all the effort in the first place. It seems like everyone around you is flourishing and instead of grabbing life by the apples, your insecurities are doing handstands. You feel anxious but frustrated because deep down within, you just know that you were destined for bigger and better.
It’s that thing known as fear. After browsing through a few articles that talk about the science behind fear, it became clear that it’s too much of a complex topic to unpack in a blog post. Past experiences and trauma or loss of control are just some of the probabilities behind this crippling reaction. They say that fear is a good sign that your survival instincts are intact, and that you need to appreciate the dangers to stay safe. If fear encourages us to remain in our comfortable cocoons, then, of course, we wouldn’t want to go beyond the parameters of such an environment, where we are reassured that we won’t need to be confronted with situations that push us to be uneasy. But when your fears become an enemy of your own progress, you are forced to watch those around you progress while you remain behind the bars of your mental prison.
GETTING OUT OF MY OWN WAY
For the longest time, I had a fear of something which many may consider menial: driving. My first experience behind the wheel was at my first driving lesson at the age of 21. My driving test was the last time I drove until I landed my first job just over a year later and I was forced to familiarise myself with a car again for the sake of work. I would conjure up so many excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. Until one day, I got so sick and tired of just being scared, that I pulled myself towards myself and went for it. And I didn’t go far; I just went around the block. I stalled a couple of times, selected the wrong gears – but boy! Was I not convinced that I now had the power to walk into the office and tell my managers they were all dismissed? (Jokes, but I’m sure you get the level of renewed self-confidence).
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY?
There’s this thing where we start concerning ourselves about how we will be received by others more than achieving the actual goal itself. More often than not, what we actually fear the most are the negative opinions, sniggers and remarks should we attempt and fail. But what I have figured is that the people who have the most to say, are the ones doing the least in their own lives. Anyone who has ever challenged themselves to do and be more than the average will know the teething issues faced by anyone on the same path. Birds of a feather, flock together. The types of conversations you partake in and the people you elect to have in your circle play a big role in influencing your level of thinking. You are a product of your environment, so surround yourself with winners and watch your mentality evolve.
OVERCOMING FEAR IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT MIRACLE
Going back to my fear of driving, the main thought in my head was: What if I hit something and now I have to deal with the humiliation that I bit off more than I can chew? This was until I realised that I was giving the irrelevant people power while taking away my own and feeding my insecurities. You’re not going to summon the courage to go after your best life overnight. It needs you to start by conquering the little everyday fears that lurk and haunt you in the back of your head. Those little every day wins build-up your self-esteem and self-confidence to eventually allow you to realise that you can attain anything if your head is in the game. You may have fears that you know are detrimental to yourself and purpose because you think “Who am I”? But I dare you to counter that and ask “Who am I not?”