If you want to get to where you want to be, you will have to learn how to overcome, eliminate and beat your fears. That is easier said than done, but the way I have done it is surprisingly simple.
It all started when I finished my last year in school. If I remember correctly, at that time I was already earning a healthy living by playing poker a few hours a day.
Everything went smoothly in the beginning and I was on top of the world. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I realized why they refer to poker as a hard way to make an easy living.
It’s tough, but when you learn to deal with the situation, you grow. The fear, worry, anxiety, frustration and anger that comes to the surface is surprising, but what it reveals about you as a person is amazing.
You and I, we will ultimately have completely different ways of overcoming and dealing with our fears. Keep that in mind when you read this article. This should merely serve as a stepping stone for you to discover what works for you.
By learning to make my fears insignificant, I’ve been able to make much faster progress than I could have done otherwise.
People often ask me how I am able to learn everything so fast, and I believe one of the reasons is because I am often able to work with my fears. I acknowledge them and keep moving forward.
How Your Mind Works
In order to overcome your fear and make it insignificant, you have to either make it smaller or make your dreams larger.
When I first started making a living on my own with poker, I had no idea what I was doing, and I was dealing with my own mind-ghosts for the first time.
It’s only in hindsight that I am able to see what got me through it all. Even though I didn’t know exactly what steps to take, it was my single-mindedness that kept me moving. I was surrounded by my own fear, but I knew what I wanted, so I kept going.
Remember, you are in charge of your brain and what goes on inside. Take a deep look at your thoughts and see how you’re looking at what you want and what you don’t want.
You may see them, hear them, or feel them, it doesn’t matter which. The important thing is that you learn to magnify what you want, and shrink what you don’t want.
I am not talking about ignoring the bad stuff in your brain, just making it insignificant for now, you can always reverse the process later if you wish 😉
Whatever you feel can be changed. How you feel it can be changed. You are in complete control. The only problem is that most people aren’t willing to claim their power and take responsibility.
The first time I was asked to do an audio interview, I was nervous, but I knew that in order to reach my goal, it was inevitable. I had to do it sooner or later. Thinking like this calmed me and got me pumped about doing the interview.
I was thinking about what I wanted. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about making a living doing what you love or just wanting to have a popular blog, whatever makes you tick is good.
This is one of the main ways I overcome my own fears day in and day out. I accept that they are there. I look at where I want to go, and I move forward, without thinking much, because if I already know where I have to go, there’s no reason to second-guess, it will only delay me.
It works for me. No matter how afraid I am, if I am always honest with myself. I know where I want to go, and I know what I have to do to get there. Any fear is insignificant if it is holding me back. It’s a waste of time.
Everyone deals with fear, but the successful people take action and are willing to deal with failure and whatever bad things may happen.
The only downside with my process is that it doesn’t work on things I am not passionate about. For example, I’m just a tiny bit freaked out by insects, spiders and the like, but I have no motivation to get rid of that fear because it’s not relevant for me.
How to Make Your Fears Insignificant
By now, I’m sure you’re already familiar with how you can overcome your fears and make them insignificant, but there is still room to make it simpler.
Whenever a fear emerges, think about where you want to go and if you’re moving in the right direction. If you decide you’re moving in the right direction, acknowledge the fear and keep moving forward.
This process requires courage in the beginning, but once you’re comfortable with it, it becomes easier to trust that it works.
Why is it that when you walk down the street and bump into a sign that says “construction, please go away”, you immediately think about the best way to get around it and keep moving forward, but when you’re heading for a more fulfilling life and something comes in your way, you freeze?
It’s because of your conditioning, programming and the associations you have made in your life. Everything can be changed. Remember, you have the power to do whatever you want. There are no excuses.
Each time I face one of my fears, it shrinks and ultimately disappears. The hardest part is doing it the first few times. To summon the courage to get started, I look at the choice of succumbing to my fear and moving through it. Life almost always looks better when you face your fears.
If I give in to my fear, I’ll live a life of regret. If I face my fear, I’ll keep growing and moving towards a more fulfilling life. A rough example, but I think you can see how I frame things in my own mind.
You have to find a way to motivate yourself. It’s starts by taking action and learning how your mind works. It’s easy to believe that your mind, your thoughts and your feelings are in control, but if that’s true, why is it that you are able to observe your thoughts and feelings when you are completely present?
How can your thoughts be in control if there is an overseer watching them? They can’t. Breathe, relax and be in the now, and you become the observer.
I agree with Ram – awesome post, Henri
This statement particularly stood out for me: “Everyone deals with fear, but the successful people take action and are willing to deal with failure and whatever bad things may happen.”. In order to be successful, we have to acknowledge our fears and move past them, like in your construction example. It’s the people who can are able to come up with several ways of going around their fears who are getting wha they want out of life, while others are letting their fears rule their lives.
Thanks for sharing.
Yup. It’s not easy, but it all starts with asking yourself how instead of dwelling on the why.
Raam Dev says
Awesome post, Henri.
Fear is one of those things that serves a genuine purpose but too often gets mixed up in places it doesn’t belong. We’re supposed to fear big carnivorous animals, but we’re not supposed to fear something that will ultimately improve who we are.
The thing to remember is that each and every one of us has the “right path” in life. Obstacles are there to teach us something important. Challenges are there to remind us that the journey is supposed to be difficult at times.
My latest blog post is about the lessons I learned watching a crab climb a sheer rock. He made mistakes and took the wrong route before finally reaching the top, but he didn’t give up and he didn’t take the failed routes as excuses to quit.
I’ve discovered my best method of overcoming fear is to look at what would happen if I succumb to the fear — if I let it get the upper hand and prevent me from advancing. How will the world look? Will I regret not having more courage? Will I look back and wish that I would’ve just gotten past the fear and allowed myself to grow and feel more confident?
Asking those questions is usually enough to push me over the boundary and “just do it”.
Looking at what will happen if I let fear take control is one of my favorite methods as well. We all want an effortless life, but if we were to get it, we probably wouldn’t want it. Interesting how that works 😉
Srinivas Rao says
First off thanks for the shoutout :). I’m glad you linked your BlogcastFM interview and it’s kind of amazing to see how much you’ve grown since then. I can’t tell you how much getting over every fear has changed my life. Fear of pushing publish on something you’re scared to share is the sign that you’ve done some of your best work. If we use fear the right way, it can be used to make dramatic progress in our lives.
Yes, it does feel like ages ago when we did that interview. Fear is unpleasant, but like you said, if harnessed, it can make or break your life. Keep rocking, Srini! I am really enjoying the interviews at Blog Cast FM.
The best way to clear a fear is to attack it over and over and over again! Nothing more nothing less. Visualization does help!
Agreed. Take whatever works for you and use it!
Parker Lee says
Something that stood out to me, “In order to overcome your fear and make it insignificant, you have to either make it smaller or make your dreams larger.”
I’ve read a ton of self help material, if this quote has been said before then it’s not said much. It’s true, now that I think about it, as long as your “want–dream” is strong enough, fear in turn will shrivel up.
I agree. It’s something I’ve borrowed from Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP]. Amp up what you want and go after it!
Jen Smith says
Great points Henri. I am really pleased you shared some of your secrets here, as since getting to know you online I have noticed that you share the same fears as others but you are willing to go through them. I just had a post published about the myths of success. I think one of the myths is that we won’t feel any fear when we are successful … but actually I think for most of us, some kind of fear is usually around, we just have to keep pushing through.
I believe we all share the same fears. The further down you go, the more in common we all have. The details may be different, but in the end, we’re all afraid of the same stuff.
When I realized that even hugely successful people were afraid, worried and frustrated, that’s when things started to click for me. I agree. It’s about allowing what is to be there.
You have a knack of simplifying everything so beautifully, nice work! I think that the trick is to face your fears head on, because you soon realise that while pushing past fear might be uncomfortable, that’s about as bad as it gets. And yes, focus on the goal you’re trying to acheive, not the fear that’s an obstacle in your path – keep looking ahead. And it’s not all bad, you can make fear work for you. Having said that, I still haven’t overcome my fear of certain insects 🙂
You learn so much when you face your fears, at least I have. Keep killing those fears! 😉
Fear is what stop us from reaching our best. In order to grow, we need to face our fear head on. Whoever can achieve this will receive excellent results in life. Great article!
Couldn’t agree more. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Archan Mehta says
Great post, as usual. Thanks for the hard work: we appreciate your input.
As a child, I was fascinated by swimming.
Real swimmers were like my hero, Aquaman, who had conquered the ocean. My hero could talk to marine life through a secret language or telepathy. I also wanted to be like my hero.
Imagine Dolphins coming to your rescue when you were in trouble; or whales coming to your aid to wipe out the bad guys who had kidnapped you. The problem? I was afraid the swimming pool would claim my life.
I was apprehensive: the shallow end of the pool was okay, but it presented no challenge. The deep end of the pool was a different ball game. I just dived in.
I could not keep afloat, since I did not know how to swim. So, like Aquaman, I held my breath and started swimming under water. I made my feet and hands move and the rest of my body just like Aquaman. And I managed to hold on to my breath until I reached the shallow end of the pool. And then, of course, it was not necessary to swim at all, you see. I could just stand up inside the pool.
A wee bit of courage goes a long way. I don’t recommend being impulsive, but maybe impulse is not always such a bad thing. Look at my case–it worked, finally.
If you are afraid, do it anyway. Majority of the times you are worrying over nothing.
Be optimistic that things will work out for you eventually and all will be well.
Have the determination and self-confidence to follow through. Go for it. Cheers!
I remember learning how to swim underwater first, which is pretty cool. You are so right when you say “majority of the times you are worrying over nothing.”
I think it has even been proven, but I’m too lazy to find the proof. I remember listening to the audiobook: Earl Nightingale – Lead the Field. In it he talked about this exact subject.
Some really down-to-earth thoughts on such an important topic. Fear can really control our lives if we don’t learn how to manage it. As it is said, ‘courage is not the absence of fear, but rather willingness to act even in the presence of fear.’ I really enjoyed your post 🙂
Excellent quote, Amanda. Thanks for sharing that. It’s easy to believe that successful men an women are fearless, when in fact they are as afraid as you and I.
Sometimes, I just think: If I were to die tomorrow, nothing matters anymore. This thought never fails to calm myself down.