To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Bertrand Russell
All of us without exception would have experienced fear in some form or the other. It is equally possible that most of us would have overcome most of these fears but are plagued by some select fears still. There would also be the more unfortunate lot who perhaps have not been able to overcome some of the fears and continue to be terrorized. While extreme psychological problems could explain acute fears and phobia that would require expert treatment, for the vast majority the fears they suffer from are largely self imposed, partly justified but definitely not to be ignored. It is essential that each of us confront our fears or they will be shackles that will limit our ability to soar higher in our life.
Here are 3 ways to conquer our fears.
Acknowledge them. Most times we tend to ignore our fears and hope they go away. Other times we are so ashamed of it we hide it to the best of our ability. Like a good doctor who focuses on the diagnosis, one must be ready to face the reality and identify our fears no matter how trivial it may seem to others. By acknowledging our fears we are pinpointing the problem, we become more conscious and aware of the reality and we then have an opportunity to work on eliminating the problem. Eg. Many people are afraid of change. However they would mask it in the garb of being comfortable with the existing setup or dismiss suggestions of change as ‘ not really suited for an old dog to do learn new tricks’. The danger here is that change may overtake us and then we would crib that we missed the opportunity or that we weren’t given a fair chance to keep up with new systems etc.
Assess them. It is essential to be pragmatic about our fears and asses them. Not all fears need to be confronted. Many a fear can be ignored for it might not impact us directly. A fear of going underwater or paragliding are not majorly career limiting or life impacting unless one wants to make a career in it. However it is imperative that we assess each of our fears that we acknowledge and rationalize its relative importance in our life. For a lawyer in court effective public speaking skills would be almost as important as knowing the law. Theatrics may not count for much although it may have some impact too. By assessing the fears we can pay special attention to those that are critical and take corrective steps. Eg. Our fear of public speaking could possibly be the result of a failed public performance in childhood for which we were mercilessly chided. However if we cloak it under the garb of being shy and do nothing about it we would never overcome it and possibly our potential would be limited and stunted to that extend.
Attack them: There are no soft options to confront our fears. However if we manage to appreciate the psychological and logical reasoning for our fears we would have won half the battle. The tougher part is to attack our fears by taking the risk of confronting it. This must be done cautiously, deliberately and purposefully. In being cautious one has to take steps to ensure that the process is chosen with care and that it won’t make a bad situation worse. In being deliberate the process is executed to a plan with safe guards to minimize the risks if any. In being purposeful there are planned goals that one seeks to attain and then thereafter one resets the bar to achieve better results.
In overcoming our fears, we achieve 3 things. We eliminate our fear or at least minimize it, we increase our potential and end up being confident and successful
Remember: “Like Pain, fear can be controlled” Joss Whedon
- Identify 3- 5 of your fears and outline at least 3 steps to overcome it. Eg. Fear of mathematics or fear of snakes/ cockroaches/ rats etc. or fear of meeting people in authority like a school principal/ chairman etc.
- How would you react to the following situations?
- During your annual medical checkup the doctor expresses a doubt that you have a possible cancerous lymph node.
- A file containing confidential information which is kept with for safe keeping is suddenly not traceable after the office has been shifted to a new location.
- You have borrowed your friends car for an urgent trip and unfortunately another rash driver smashes his vehicle into the car you are driving and badly damages it.
- Your best friend accuses you of gossiping behind his/ her back and refuses to have any ties with you.
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