Last week, we talked about what we look like when fear has us prisoner in its grasp rendering us immobile. We are stuck forever, looping back to the same spot and the sad thing is we are unaware it's happening to us. What if we decide to finally fight fear and attempt something new in our lives? What if we want to learn how to dance, or we want to improve our fitness and start weight training, or we want to go out and meet new people? What can we expect once we have decided to lift our feet and step out into the world we should be really living in, the world where we are pursuing our dreams?
First of all, you will still be afraid. One conscious step will not completely eliminate fear, it never really goes away. Doers (people who do instead of just talk about something) still feel fear but they act in spite of it. They are brave. Yes, we can become brave too.
Second, it's not a one-time battle. Fear will keep finding you and will persist in trying to impose its power over you. It's a dictator that wants to be in charge of everything. Just because you have won one battle against fear, it doesn't mean you have won the never-ending war. Hence, you need to exercise awareness of fear and be consistent in not allowing it to control you.
Now that we have those out of the way, what can we do to battle fear? We already possess the tool to combat fear - our mind. We must practice mindfulness, recognize fear when it arrives, and act to defeat it, using the power of positive thinking. What follows next are thoughts to help us keep the big, bad wolf of fear of new at bay.
"It's okay to fail."
The fear of doing something new is always linked to the fear of failing. We have been long programmed to condemn failure like it's something to be completely avoided, possessing no merit, no benefit, and nothing positive. But that's completely wrong.
You can't do something new without failing, at least once. Think about learning how to ride a bike. You will literally fall off it as you attempt to learn it. Think about finally learning how to cook. You will make at least one burnt egg in your lifetime. When you write, you will create at least one terrible draft.
The biggest reason why I paused my dream of writing for almost a decade was the fear of failure. I wanted to write a perfect book in the first try. I didn't want to fail. After completing the first draft of my upcoming novel, I knew it was an accomplishment and I knew that I failed. I failed writing the perfect novel in the first try. Characters were inconsistent. Grammatical errors survived. Plot exposed its weakness. But I became okay with that. After that failure, I learned what needed to be improved on, what needed to be changed, and what must not be done again.
Failure is inevitable. It's a requirement before we learn something, a rite of passage we must participate in before we achieve what we want to achieve.
Other people don't really think about you.
We often worry about what others will think of us when we attempt something new. They will laugh when I fail. They will label me weird if I study the mandolin. They will talk about me because I'm the only one who wants to do this. They. They. They. Why should we place the decision-making in the hands of other people?
The truth is most people are thinking the same thing too. They worry about what others think of them and not what they think of you.
I feared what others would say about my book once I finished it. I indirectly turned over my dream of writing to them, family, friends, and even to strangers I hadn't even meet yet. It was tragic. Once, I learned to never seek validation externally, I began to not care what others thought of me. I decided to finally pen a book. Whether they would love it or hate it, I still decided to it.
Don't put your life and your dreams into someone else's hand like I did.
Action is always better than words and thoughts.
Between my friends who talked about starting a business and who had already started their business, I admire the latter. I'm sure you think the same way too.
Doers are more respectful than talkers. If you keep on telling your friends and family that you will begin to lose weight for months but never get around to doing it, you paint yourself as a loser. There is no merit in expressing you want to do something until you take the steps to do it.
For a very long time, I dreamed of being a writer. I dreamed of characters and scenes in my head, my plots, the title of the books, and the twists and many other things. In the end, guess where all those dreaming took me? Nowhere. I knew deep inside that staying on the lane of dreaming never really got me closer to the manifestation of my dream but I denied it, especially to myself. Shame and guilt filled me I couldn't even tell people that I wanted to be a writer.
Do you want to be a loser? Then do that something new you really want to be doing.
You don't want to live a life full of "what if", "if only," and "I should've"
When you walk away from learning something new, you don't walk away empty-handed. With you, you take the questions "what if", "if only", and "I should've". You will always look back at that moment you turned around and regret it.
Whenever I visit a new theme park, I will always look for and go to their thrilling rides (i.e., roller coaster). My adventurous spirit possesses me and, until I experience the thrilling rides, the visit is incomplete. In fact, the first time I visited Singapore and saw the G-MAX Reverse Bungy and GX5 Extreme Swing, I refused to let them out of my sight until I had sat on their chairs and experience them. My friends were afraid except one, who felt courageous too when I said I would still do it alone. He decided to join me. I didn't return home to the Philippines thinking "If only I braved the two rides..."
Society has been programmed to be afraid of doing something new. We have been wired to love comfort, revel in it, and cherish it, to the detriment of living a life of routine, a life so mundane. We miss the true thrill of life, experiencing many things because we hesitate, we are afraid.
You would not be reading my website if I allowed the fear of new prevent me from chasing my dreams. I would not be up way past midnight writing this article if I submitted to fear and let it cripple me. I have used those thoughts above me in my war against fear and I shall be using them as long as I live.
Never underestimate those small weapons in helping you face the fear of new. You will be using them for a long time. Once you have gained the courage to try something new, you will be doing more new things down the road.