Fear: is it holding you back?

June 25, 2014

Fear: is it holding you back?

Fear is a powerful feeling. In evolutionary terms, fear has protected our species and helped us survive. And it stills does to this day. Can you imagine if our ancestors felt no fear at all? In the face of a fierce animal and took no measures to protect themselves or run? Fear is a part of our self-preservation instinct and can get us out of many troubles. Trusting your fear, even if you don’t understand it, may be a good call most of the time.

But what if you’re letting you fear get the best of you?

What if your fear is actually controlling you and preventing you from achieving greater things? Of not taking the necessary risks to accomplish success? You can never succeed if you don’t try. Most importantly, what if fears are feeding your anxiety and leading you to the brink of mental disorder?

First thing you need to do is to identify the roots of your fear. Fear has a lot to do with our personal history, the values that our parents and relatives passed on to us. Most of us may look at our parents and realize their parents passed on a fear of financial ruin to them. Why was that? Our grandparents lived through a great economic depression and because of that, passed on to our parents the need to have savings and prevent a rainy day. Some of us incorporate that fear in a constructive way (like having a few savings stored away) and others take that fear to extremes (like becoming a serious cheapskate and not enjoying your own money to spend).

Knowing your fear and assessing it against your reality, can help you not only understand it but also overcome it.

Getting fear out of the way

What are you afraid of? My advice: make a list with two columns. The first one, what’s the worst that can happen if you go through with your endeavor and the second how can you prevent it from happening or overcome the consequences (basically think about solutions). When you finish look at it and try to figure out how if you can minimize the risk and make the decision: do the gains outweigh the consequences? What are the odds for success? If the odds are in your favor or you can find a way to overcome difficulties, then take a “calculated risk” as I like to call it. The worst you can do is walk into a situation fully blind but it can also prevent you from achieving success if you quit at the first site of failure or trouble.

When to take a leap of faith

Like stated earlier, it’s preferable to take “calculated risks”. If there are great odds for success and the risks are containable or can be easily overcome, it’s time to take that chance and face your fear. What’s the worst it could happen?  You will know. Know what? Whether if you can do it or not. You will not spend your life on “what ifs” and start living your dreams.

What if you still fail? We all learn from our mistakes and you will have calculated and prevented your failure from becoming a total disaster. But most importantly, you will have seen what’s pass your fear and that is: endless possibilities.


Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uaeincredible/217849066