“You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe”- Leymah Gbowee
Fear is an inevitable part of our lives. It helps us to tackle hurdles, grow from discomfort and track forward. However, clinging onto this fear and letting it dictate our decisions is what poses to be a problem, and thus the question of “how to be fearless” poses very popular.
Nobody is born fearless; they learn how to navigate it with the right mindset and actions. It all comes down to understanding that fear is just another emotion and knowing how to address it for rich, wholesome living.
The fear of failure, rejection or the unknown makes us procrastinate and often live a life of mediocrity. Living life with no regrets is not just a cliché saying but in fact a motto of success! Fearless people who push forward despite any situation that is trying to hold them back are the real go-getters!
In this article, we will be discussing 9 effective strategies used by people who have learned to slay their fears for abundant living.
Fear Is the Dream Killer!
Nothing kills the motivation to take risks, defy the odds and succeed, unlike fear does. Fear can literally paralyze our brain into questioning our chances of success and doubt our own skills and capabilities.
○ Fear causes Inaction in the face of Opportunity
Opportunities can be had only by those who keep an open mind. Fear tends to breed irrational thoughts and an overly critical analysis of everything that could go wrong.
It is but natural to then feel afraid from taking a plunge into unknown territory and testing the waters. Fear makes our brain ‘freeze’ from all the ‘what ifs’ and thoughts of failure, which ultimately breed inaction.
In order to grab opportunities and make the most of them, it is critical to give up our fear of the outcome. The negative bias generated from past experiences is what makes us fearful of investing in present action, planning, and innovating.
With such a “tunnel vision” of what success and life could look like, fear becomes a thief of joy, growth, and learning for us.
○ Difference between Healthy Fear and Fear that Hinders Progress
There is definitely a notable difference between fear that protects and motivates us and fear that hinders growth. Efficacy lies in knowing how to differentiate between the two and feed the one which favors our progress.
Healthy fear safeguards us from danger and harm, is advantageous for us. However, some fears that stem from “imagined or perceived danger” can even result in a sort of phobia that prevents us from living our best life.
Unlike healthy fears, these affect our daily life decisions and become integrated as a part of our behavioral patterns even after we’ve avoided any imminent danger.
○ How Fear can Make or Break Us
With great risks and a thorough belief in one’s potential comes great rewards! However, we often manage to sabotage this by constant irrational fear and anxiety of what the worst case scenario might be.
In doing so, not only do we become victims of a “scarcity mindset”, but we also encourage mediocrity. If we keep fearing the unknown, we will forever be stuck in our comfort zone. It is common knowledge that nothing revolutionary is ever born in a place of too much familiarity.
Huge success occurs when we take a leap of faith and believe in our potential for a better future without seeing it. The great visionaries of our world have been mindful of their shortcomings, without having them dictate their dreams and ambitions for a more promising and rich life.
How to be fearless? Top 9 Strategies
Whilst experiencing fear as an emotion is inevitable, controlling our reaction and response to it is what eventually holds weight. The following are 9 powerful tactics in fear management for an extraordinary living!
1. Introspect the Source of Fear
“You can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in”- Junot Diaz
Knowing where our fear stems from and reflecting on it is half the battle won. No matter how much we try to push past it, fear has a way of catching up with us because of how ingrained it is in our system.
The key to nipping irrational fear in the bud is to indulge in some serious self-evaluation. Questioning our values and belief system, challenging negative thoughts and tracing back on childhood patterns are central to this.
Digging deep may reveal certain pivotal moments of our life that shaped the way we perceive the world and help us consciously break away from such patterns. Unless we embrace the courage to look inside and understand ourselves better, fear will continue to be our enemy instead of an ally.
2. Grow with the Flow of changes
Whilst going with the flow suggests being comfortable with the changes and events of life, growing with the flow is a whole other ball game!
In a state of fear, we can become uncomfortable with the prospect of adventure, seeking the new, and innovation. We’re more likely to cling to the known and stick to being comfortable with the mundane pace of life, which is so predictable.
Whilst there is no harm in doing so, there is nothing extraordinary happening here either. If you’re on the lookout for breakthroughs in life, you have to be willing to go that extra mile. The minute you overcome fear and embrace growth in adversity, you start moving forward despite things not working in your favor.
Growing with the flow means riding the crest of life, learning from the lows and being a catalyst of positive change through it all!
3. Bird’s eye view of Life
If we were to get a bird’s eye view of life every now and then, we’d be laughing at just how irrational our fears are. Fear can make us restrict our thinking to such a limited perspective that we completely miss out on the bigger picture.
By meditating on the grand scheme of things, one can discover much strength in the knowledge of how impermanent everything is. We’re all specks in the scope of the Universe and our individual worries are nothing compared to the collective existence of all living beings.
Fear arises from our personal egos, making us feel like everything we do or say holds much relevance. Contemplating life from a broader perspective helps ground us and gives us strength in knowing that our troubles are universal and temporary.
4. Focus on the Present Moment
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life”- Eckhart Tolle
Our fear arises from a feeling of being overwhelmed by challenges that appear herculean in size to us. We are either attached to the pain of yesterday’s failure or fearful of the future outcome. Either way, we are detached from the present moment.
Eckhart Tolle in his book ‘The Power of Now‘ talks about how the present moment is our biggest gift. Life is a series of present moments and seizing the NOW can help us tackle minor problems before they become major challenges.
The key is in having your eyes fixed on the prize without wasting your present energy in mulling over the outcome rather than the actual process.
5. Reboot the Mind with Visualization
Visualizing success or a favorable outcome beforehand is an incredibly powerful tool. It helps to picture the future in the “mind’s eye” without it having materialized in reality.
This strategy is great conquer fear as it helps us practice success and become more confident of our response to a situation before it happens. When our mind is hardwired for success, our thoughts and actions are more likely to follow in the same direction.
In fact, the Law of Attraction also works on the same principle. Our ability to visualize our desired reality in our mind and believe in it wholeheartedly is how we eventually attract it.
Fear makes us react to life, whereas belief makes us proactive, conscious creators of our reality. It is then that we unlock the doors to infinite possibilities and opportunities awaiting us.
6. Giving Up is Not an Option
In our quest for how have fearless life, we must be willing to embrace change and the discipline to stick to the journey we’re on. Fearless people push through the odds to reach their end goal no matter what.
In case they fail, they are not afraid to try a different approach or a backup plan. They understand that instant success is an illusion and that struggles are a natural part of their journey.
Imagine if you were to give up now only to realize later how close you were to success! Fearless people leave no room for regrets. Learn to differentiate struggles from failures, prioritize growth over success, celebrate the small wins and remember that you ALWAYS have a choice.
7. Practice Courage through Vulnerability Exercises
In her revolutionary documentary film, ‘The Call to Courage‘, Brene Brown highlights the link between vulnerability and courage. It is only in fearless action and vulnerability that we are able to give wholly.
Brown says that no vulnerability means no creativity and no tolerance for failure means no innovation. Building courage in both personal relationships and work life takes some practice. Being willing to raw openness is a sign of strength and not weakness.
Vulnerability exercises like deep self-reflection, assuming responsibility for our thoughts and actions, and prioritizing your own opinion over others helps you build courage in the face of uncertainty.
8. Have a Daily Practice of Forgiving Yourself
Fear stems from feelings of guilt, regret and embarrassment. Unless we move past these emotions and experiences, we will continue to relive them and sabotage our present.
Practicing forgiveness daily and building gratitude can greatly benefit our mental health. This in turn will help us detach from our past experiences and respond more effectively to new challenges.
It is only when we accept responsibility for what happened that we can repair the damage and move on. By restoring our trust in ourselves and our potential for greatness, we can then focus on renewal and become fearless with greater ease.
9. Life is an Achievement, not a Gift
In today’s world, the need to treat the future as an achievement and not a gift is what we need most! The challenge of the present is to craft that future in the best way possible.
Ultimately, life is what we make of it. In thinking of life as a gift, we tend to believe that our choices lack the power of changing the course of our journey. Success is not something that is served on a platter to us; it is an achievement that we work diligently towards.
In embracing this notion, we become aware of the fact that discomfort and suffering are inevitable and even necessary for vibrant living. Fearing this truth is to stand idly and expect dreams to come true under their own power.
The Art of Fearless Living At a Glance
“Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage”- Anais Nin
Being alive and living every moment for what it involves being unapologetically fearless. Whilst feeling fear as an emotion is natural to us all, knowing how and when to respond to it can dramatically change our lives.
Managing our fears helps to analyze their origin and be brutally honest with ourselves about our struggles. Broadening our perspective on life and what matters and growing with the natural course of our journey helps ease unnecessary anxiety and irrational fears.
It helps to note how important forgiving oneself, being vulnerable and being responsible for the future is in the long run. Exercise control on your present choices, visualize your desired future and never quit trying until you’re happy with yourself.
Fearless people are narrators of their lives; not victims. There is always going to be something we’re afraid of, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take chances! Freedom awaits us on the other side of fear.