How to Overcome Fear
Most people have fear. The most common fear we have is the fear of death and the fear of rejection. Why do we have fear? I want to tell you why we have fear and how to overcome fear. When we are able to overcome our fear, we can move on and make our life better.
Why have we fear?
Fear is a defending mechanism that we are born with. For example, when we were in the stone age – we saw a lion, we felt fear, we ran away to save ourselves. If we didn’t feel fear, we would have been eaten by the lion. So you see our fear was to help us remove ourselves from danger.
How did we identify the lion is dangerous? It is also an instinct that we are born with, it is in our nature. So when we see a snake, “That looks dangerous, and we don’t go and touch it.”
Now back to present day, no more lions and snakes. There are other things that we fear, like public speaking, fear of the unknown, fear of flying or fear of failure, etc. Basically, we still want to run away from something. We don’t like what we don’t like, and also, we don’t like what we don’t know.
We have fear mostly is because we don’t have a thorough understanding of these things. Like some people are fear of the future because they don’t know what is going to come. Some fear public speaking because they don’t know what the response of the audience will be.
So what do we do to overcome these fears? We don’t want it to stop us doing what we wanted to do. We cannot let the fear of failure stop us fulfilling our dreams.
How to overcome our fear?
The first thing that we need to do when facing fear is to relax. Relax our bodies and our minds. Sit down comfortably and take a few deep breadths.
Since our fear mainly comes from not understanding the things that we fear. Therefore to remove or overcome it, we have to try to understand the very thing that we fear about. If it is public speaking you fear, you just analyze it and break it down into smaller steps.
Like this…..Public Speaking:
- prepare the speech in notes or points form
- dress up well
- go on stage
- read the notes
- finish and go home
Go through the process in your mind as you are actually doing it. You can go through it few times if you need to. The more you do it, then it will gradually clam your nerve. The reason why this works is your experience. When you are going through it in your mind as you have actually doing it will give you, close to, real experience. The more experience you have, the less fear you have and the more confidence you will be.
Some professional golfers use this visualization technique to improve their game.
There is another method you can use together with the experience method above. It is called “Prepare for the Worst” method.
As the name suggested, you just prepare for the worst to come. I will use the public speaking example again. What is the worst thing that you can do when you fail? Don’t people like your speech? Will they throw eggs at you? (You know that they will not have eggs to throw at you.)
Once you realize what the worst case scenario is, then you can tell yourself, “It is not too bad and it is not the end of the world.” You will be able to relax, and when you relax – you perform better.
So, for any other fear you can conquer it in the same way.
I had an experience of removing the fear of the unknown for my wife. Many years ago we were living in Hong Kong and we decided to immigrate to New Zealand. My wife had this fear, she was on edge and she worried if we would be able to cope with life in this new country that we were going to.
I took out a piece of paper and I wrote down how much money we had. Then I did an estimation of how much money we need every day. Then I showed her that if we both could not find any job – the worst case scenario. We would still be able to survive for two years if the worst has happened. She felt a sigh of relief after she understood our future would be. I did well to removed her fear of unknown.
There is a book I recommend you to read.
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Also, you can read my other post on Learn to be Brave.
I don’t understand why people have the fear of the unknown. Life would be very boring if we know beforehand everything which will happen in our future. What is the fun in that?
Let me tell you. Just leave your fear behind and do whatever you wanted to do. Seize the day and propose to your girlfriend, go visit another country, learn a new skill or start your new business.