Today, I want to talk about facing your fears and facing the unknown.
Think of something right now that you are afraid of. Are you afraid of heights? Do you have fear of failure? Fear of messing up a presentation in front of an audience that you have to do?
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It’s natural for us to have that instinct of being afraid, of being fearful of the unknown, of trying something new that we’ve never done before. Back in the day, we needed fear for survival. That fear helped us avoid or escape situations that could literally be life threatening.
We’ve come a long way as a species. Many of us are fortunate to have shelter, food, and all the basic necessities in life. I’m assuming that if you’re listening to my podcast or reading this pot, you’re doing okay and have these basic necessities covered.
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We have vehicles that can transport us relatively safely and quickly from point A to point B. We don’t usually have to worry about a lion attacking us on the way to work.
This has resulted in us becoming fearful of other things. We aren’t afraid of hunting to put food on the table. We’re worried about things like getting a raise. Or starting a successful business. We are afraid of looking stupid if we try something new and fail.
Isn’t that crazy? Our worries and fears are so much more ridiculous today. I’m not making light of your fears.. I’m just saying that we often get inside our heads more than we should.
Don’t worry about what others think
Let me tell you something. You shouldn’t care what others think… I’m learning this more and more with time.
Have you ever seen older folks in the gym locker room? A lot of them walk around completely naked, without a care in the world.
They really do not care what others think, AT ALL. While I’m not suggesting you walk around in the nude in your local gym, I want to basically say that there are few things we really need to fear.
One thing that has really opened my eyes is traveling abroad. When you’re in a new country and you literally do not know a single soul, it is so incredibly liberating. Accidentally farted on the train? Whatever! You’ll never see those people again. Tripped over the curb and dropped your food everywhere? Big deal! Laugh it off.
Getting that perspective and coming home is so eye opening. Who really cares what Judy in the office thinks if you like to take your shoes off to air off your feet, or if you microwave fish for lunch and stink up the office? Be considerate of others, but don’t cater to everyone else’s every wish.
In any case, we have to understand that if it’s the first time we’re trying something new, we’re probably not going to be good at it. If you’ve never spoken in front of 50 people before, it’s not going to be a cake walk. But as you do it more and more, it becomes more natural. You get better, you are more prepared, and you level up.
I’m not going to lie, I still have my fears. I’m still going to shriek and jump if a spider crawls on me. But I am trying my best to conquer all of my fears within reason.
Obviously, practice makes perfect. If you practice something more and more you’re going to get better at it.
Try this out. Any time you are afraid, think of something that you did despite the fear you felt. Think about how it felt to step up and face that fear; to conquer it.
You probably realized that the thing wasn’t as scary as you expected it to be, right?
What are you afraid of?
If you have listened to my past podcast episodes and posts on my website, one fear I wanted to conquer was the fear of heights. This is something a lot of people truly fear.
I love hiking, but the thought of slipping and dying is a bit frightening. But I still hike. I don’t let that fear stop me from living my fullest life and experiencing everything the world has to offer.
Another example I talk about is skydiving. Jumping out of a plane? Sane people actually do that?
I actually haven’t been skydiving in awhile. But I would really love to get a high resolution photo of me skydiving soon. I can probably ask an instructor or another skydiver to get a few photos of me in free fall.
I want to blow that picture up and put it on my wall with the words “fear nothing” beneath it.
And why does it have to be a photo of me? Why not just a cool one off of Google? I want a photo of me because I want to stare at it any time I am afraid to take action on something.
When I’m afraid to make a cold call or ask for a sale or step out of my comfort zone, that picture will remind me of the time I won a stare down competition with my fear of heights.
I can tell myself, “Dude, Chris. Why the hell are you scared to cold call this person? You have JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE MULTIPLE TIMES. You’ve done something that a tiny percentage of people in the world will ever muster up the courage to do. This cold call? It ain’t nothing! YOU ARE A BADASS. YOU GOT THIS!”
When’s a time that you had to metaphorically throw yourself out into a hard situation or a situation that you didn’t want to be in? You have likely been in uncomfortable situations before and pushed through. You survived! You’re still here!
Think about that time and consider writing down a list of a few of the things that you’ve done that you’re proud of. Some things that that were difficult for you that you overcame.
Anytime that you’re struggling to make a decision or you’re afraid to try something new, look at that list and remind yourself that you are a badass.
You’ve done this before. You’ve conquered the unknown. You’ve gone out into the dark night and what happens the next day?
The sun still rose.
You were okay.
Things didn’t turn out to be as bad as you might have thought. It’s kind of funny to think about. I remember a previous girl that I had dated… gosh, she was always so negative and it really put a drain on me.
I would be stressed and upset so often due to her negativity rubbing off on me.
I truly believe in the law of attraction. You attract what you think about and what you focus on expands.
She would always be negative and complain. This only attracted more problems into her life!
I remember that she used to pull too close into a parking spot. I had graduated before her and moved back to Houston for work. She was planning on visiting me one weekend.
All in one week:
She scratched the side of her car on the grill of a big truck.
She bombed a finance test.
She got a speeding ticket on the way to visit me
She called me bawling after the ticket. I had to tell her “Calm down. It’s gonna be okay. It’s not a big deal. You’re going to live.”
Sure, that’s a bad week and the losses kept piling up, but I firmly believe that she attracted that into her own life by being negative.You ever notice how if you’re just in a bad mood, everything seems to suck? You stub your toe, you burn yourself with hot shower water, ugh!
I hope that things are better with her and that she’s more positive. But I’ve met so many people that are always anxious and freaking out about pretty insignificant stuff…
If you’re sweating the small stuff, life is going to be a bumpy ride.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Things don’t always go our way.
Change your perspective
One of my friends, Brett, recently went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat in India.
He put his phone away and everything, he had no technology. I would go nuts because I’m always on my phone listening to podcasts, Instagramming stuff, and all that, so major props to him for doing that. I’d like to try it out eventually myself.
He told me afterwards that he was so appreciative and just in total peace. He told me that after the retreat, a bird pooped on him. Previously, he might have been a little upset or annoyed, but now, he just ended up laughing and wiping it off because it’s not a big deal. It’s just bird poop.
How you frame things really makes a huge difference on your life. When you’re able to ignore these small inconveniences and not see them as problems, you have so much more mental capacity to focus on the major things in life that seem difficult or scary.
So, that’s my message for today. Really try to conquer your fears.
Getting in front of 20 people to speak, approaching a random person at a networking event, or asking a girl you like out is not as scary as it seems.
We’re all human. I feel incredibly confident these days. I feel like I can go up to the President of the United States or a billionaire and shake their hand like it’s not big deal.
Yes, if I were to go meet someone I really look up to like Jeff Bezos or Mark Cuban or whoever, I would be all giddy and excited like, oh my gosh, I’m a big fan and love your work.
But at the end of the day, they are human just like you and me. They get sick. They have bad days. You can absolutely be in their place in the future with the right goals, mindset, and hustle.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Many things that we fear are trivial in today’s world. Very few things we fear are truly life threatening or altering.
Focus on the big things, the challenging things, the things that scare you. Make a list of things you’ve conquered in the past to remind yourself of your capabilities and past successes when you are fearful of something or having self-doubt.
“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.” —Napoleon Hill
Consider making a list of past difficulties you overcame to motivate you when you face new ones.
Or you can also try to have a reminder for yourself, like a rubberband on your wrist to snap yourself when you’re thinking small. Or even put a post it note on your computer monitor reminding you that you are a badass and have endless potential.
So what’s there to fear? If it isn’t going to kill you, is it really something worth fearing?