7 Simple Steps to Overcoming Fear
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~ Mark Twain (Tweet this)
Every one of us has some or multiple magnificent things we would like to do with our lives. However, a little thing known as “fear” seemingly interjects all our desires. We lie in bed running through the unknowns of tomorrow; thoughts of “what if” and “how am I going to . . . ” fill the night.
When we wake, for most, not much changes. We go about our day still ultimately curious whether we’re doing the right thing or not—wondering if our fears are real or not. Perhaps they are logical and useful? Or worse, they are absolute illusions blocking our success and so the fears of the unknown stir on.
As Twain so eloquently puts it, “Most of these thoughts never come to fruition.” Yet, as much as we all understand this deep within, we still continue to buy into the fearful dialog of the mind. The truth is, this is simply the mind’s job. It’s not created to be happy, it’s a fearful machine. It’s our job to be courageous.
Overcoming fear is challenging but not impossible.
The antidote to fear, in a word, is simple: Courage. A mentor of mine once explained this to me very simply. After sharing with him my desires it was very clear to him and me, I was only fearful of obtaining them. His response was unmistakable and enlightening, I even laughed a little as he replied,“Stop wanting, just do it.”
Stop Wanting, Just Do It
We have devolved into human thinking. We are terrified of being and as a result our doing is completely fear-driven. In order to ever act courageously and for overcoming fear, we have to cut the thinking game down to size. We must reach inside and find the place within where nothing is impossible.
It is the mind, which curates all worries and uncertainties. When trapped in the mind we fall into much confusion, and we end up thinking ourselves through life. This is no way to live and fortunately doesn’t have to be the case. Within each of us is the intelligence of the entire universe.
The less we mind, the less it matters. Our true nature is transcendental to thought, and therefore, beyond fear.
7 ways for overcoming fear
Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral. ~ Gandhi (Tweet this)
If we want to live the truly extravagant lives we know we’re capable of, we must be courageous enough to drop our minds and feed our souls. The solution is that simple; however, there is no cure for cowardice. The truth won’t seek us; again, this is our duty to regain our power.
That being said, it’s not necessary to force courageousness. In fact, it can be quite a delicate process if we leverage the power of love. There is a transmutable power to love where what we love vanishes. Children know this. When the weather is not in favor, they play in it regardless. There’s no such thing as bad weather to a loving child.
If we “love our fears” we have an opportunity to transcend them the same way a child transcends rainy weather. Here are a few exercises to overcoming fear, leverage our fears to our advantage and make them an incredible power to expand our lives:
1. What’s your worst nightmare?
In a journal, define your absolute worst nightmare or worst-case scenario. It might be around a particular fear you have like:
- starting a business,
- changing your diet or
- getting into a new relationship.
You may also spend some time doing this exercise for life in general (defining your worst nightmare for how life could turn out). Get into the exercise emotionally, envision them happening with painstaking detail.
- Would you die?
- What permanent impact would it bring?
- Then consider, are any of them even permanent?
- What are the chances any of this would actually happen?
This exercise will bring forth the things you have often avoided your entire life. This is enlightening because the things that are “can’t haves” in our lives (meaning we do everything in our power to avoid them), usually end up being the exact things that fall into our laps.
Chances are you have feared doing many things for the same few reasons and all of them leading inevitably to the death of your illusions. The good news is they’re just illusions. What we most fear losing is part of a self image; our status, our reputation, money, friends, family and even our bodies are all illusory parts of life, the essence is eternal.
2. How could you get back on track?
The first exercise is the most powerful (recognizing fear itself is an emotional illusion), and makes the rest a lot easier. If you’re not already inspired to take action then proceed onto the following steps.
True luxury is the reward of those brave enough to act courageously. The luxuries we know—money, expensive food, fancy cars—are simple illusory comforts.
Considering how you could get them back might be comforting in itself. Do you want to travel the world but fear you’ll end up homeless or starved? What could you do to recreate your current situation? Chances are it’s easier than you imagine. Unless you’ve landed alone in the middle of the jungle—and what are the odds of that happening?—then you likely have a good chance of asking for help.
3. What’s the probably positive outcome?
Now that you’ve defined your nightmare and greatest fears, what are the possible positive outcomes? After all, we wouldn’t desire to do anything if we didn’t know it could benefit us.
The problem with fear is that is begets fear.
Most of the time people know more about their problems and what could go wrong, than solutions and positive outcomes. These could range anywhere from the internal (self esteem, confidence, spiritual enlightenment) to the external (money, fame, better health). If your list of positive outcomes doesn’t match equally to your negative outcomes then something is hidden—keep looking.
Life exists in contrast, we can’t know the good without the bad. The point is to realize that your fears are self-created, just like your rewards. In that realization we can make a choice, neither one has a stronger pull over us, which makes it easy to go at our goals with a more delicate touch.
Chances are, the good will naturally gravitate toward you now that you’ve acknowledged both sides.
4. How would you get under financial control again?
One of the hot topics in life (especially concerning our blocks) is money. Most of us initially fear our ability to survive without a “secure” source of income. However, money has nothing to do with the true luxury of bravery. In fact, the desperate need for money to do anything is usually the exact energy that creates a vacuum around receiving it. Using this exercise you can recognize your ability to generate financial control at any moment, which makes it much less to worry about.
Imagine you lost your income source, how could you get it back? It’s usually quite easy to get the same job back or a similar one if you absolutely had to. Write down any other ideas you have to generate financial control again if this is a block for you.
5. What are you putting off, out of fear?
More often than not what we most fear doing is what we most need to be doing. What is it you’re not doing because you’re terrified of the outcome? Maybe it’s making a phone call, saying ‘I love you’ or launching your first product. Whatever the case, know this, the real fear is fear of being at cause.
Unfortunately, we’ve devolved in the area of responsibility. We seem to run from it and cringe at the mere word. However, this is simple illiteracy. The word responsibility literally means response ability. Successful people know that responsibility equals power. Acknowledge your fears then recognize that by putting yourself out there . . . you are inevitably holding power.
I am reminded of the quote, “It is not that we fear we are inadequate, we fear we are powerful beyond measure.” It’s true that we fear our power. Again, this is simply due to confusion around basic literacy. Own your power, you have desires for a reason, to contribute to creation itself.
Stop letting the fear of the unknown keep you from doing that you most need to do. Our success is in direct proportion to our willingness to be comfortable and courageous in the midst of discomfort and fear.
6. What is it costing you?
When it comes to decision-making (or holding views in general) most people never get a holistic view; instead, they rationalize. Often, we look only at the possible risks involved being what we might lose and not what we might gain.
There is always a give and take; however, it’s important to measure the cost of inaction. I’ll be honest, you might lose your job, but you also might gain your life.
Not every fear is this dramatic and extreme but there is wisdom in this fear, ultimately every moment is a life-or-death moment. The deeper we go into fear, into death, the deeper we go into bliss and life. Go into your fears in totality, what is it costing you emotionally, financially, or physically to postpone living out your desires?
Where will you be 5 years from now—ten years—if you don’t take that leap? Will you be where you want to be? Better yet, will you really be alive at the deepest level of your being? If you take a deeper look you might just find out that inaction (in the face of fear) is the greatest risk of all.
7. What are you waiting for?
If you cannot answer this without resorting to the common:
- good timing,
- the perfect conditions or
- some other poor excuse
. . . the answer is simple; you’re still afraid.
No worries; so is the rest of the world. In fact, even the people we admire are afraid. What’s the difference? They felt the fear and did it anyway; they were courageous.
Courage is not the opposite of fear; it is recognizing fear with a “screw it, let’s do it” attitude. If you’re still afraid go back through the first six steps a little deeper, perhaps you rushed something. At most we are capable of giving inspiration. That’s because that word, inspiration, means to be in spirit. Unlimited-possibility is the condition of spirit; so truly, there’s nothing greater to offer than inspiration. The mind fears, spirit doesn’t know fear. It fears not even death because it is never born and never dies.
Beyond the mind lies your fearlessness. The thing about the unknown is it wants to be known. Yet, we cannot think ourselves into the unknown, it must be experienced.
Likewise, we cannot think our way out of fear. Overcoming fear and moving beyond requires the most important characteristic of all courageous people, Action. To live a truly “fearless” life means developing inspired action. After all, the greatest life is the one that is most lived.