5 Practical Ways to Overcome Fear And Live Life to the Fullest
Imagine you are camping in a forest with your friends. It’s past midnight, everyone is sleeping, and you wake up feeling hungry. You decide to take a five-minute walk to the car to grab some food and satisfy the growling hunger in your belly.
Moments later, you hear a strange voice, like that of the possessed little girl from The Exorcist.
What do you do?
Most people will shake, flinch and run for cover.
And you should too. But what if the voice keeps following you?
That’s when you’re called to face your fears.
In life, we often hear similar voices. For some people, the voice says “You cannot make progress in your career”. For others, it says “You’ll never find a fulfilling relationship”.
Here are 5 practical ways to overcome fear and take charge:
1. Understand Fear
As Denzel Washington once said, never get mad at your enemy. Instead, know it, understand it, so that one day you can defeat it.
If you understand how fear works in your brain, you’ll have a better chance of defeating it.
This is how fear works:
- Fear paralyzes action – You know that feeling – your mouth dries up, heart starts pounding. Remember when you dreaded that presentation so much that you just said, “I can’t”? Fear killed your action.
- Stuck in fight or flight – When you are caught tight in the claws of fear, you don’t really know what to do. All you can think is “I’m screwed”.
2. Visualize Courage
Visualization is a great way to talk to your subconscious mind. By visualizing the right things, you will prepare your mind to act in favorable ways.
You need to visualize yourself succeeding in life if you want to succeed in reality. Many Olympic gold medalists use positive visualization because they understand its true power. They see themselves overcoming all obstacles and coming out at the top.
This is one of the most practical ways to overcome fear.
3. Act the Part
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini mentions how, during the Korean war, Chinese Communists used psychological tactics to get secret information from American soldiers.
Long story short, they would make American soldiers write hateful statements for their home country. And this simple act would make the soldiers hate their own country.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Motivational Video
First, the Chinese would have the soldiers write neutral statements like “America is not a perfect country” or “In a communist country (China), unemployment is not a problem”. Later these statements would become stronger in terms of hate towards America.
Eventually, this practice convinced many soldiers that America is not so great. And as a result, they revealed secret information about America and its government – the same country for which they put their lives on risk not a long time ago.
In one sentence, this evidence shows that:
If you act courageously in a gradual way, you will overcome the limiting story you tell yourself.
What does this mean?
If you are afraid of presentations, first give a one-minute presentation in front of your family. Then, give a one-minute presentation in front of your close friends. Then, present in front of not-so-close friends once you feel confident. Among all practical ways to overcome fear, this is clearly the best.
The key is to stretch your comfort zone with small courageous acts.
4. Move Toward the Fear
If you move towards fear, it shrinks in size and your confidence grows. If you run away from fear, it increases in size and your confidence shrinks.
If there’s one thing you can get easily, it is ideas. Write down 5-10 ideas on how to face your fear in a gradual way and then act on them every day.
Once you make enough progress, you’ll realize how you’ve changed as a person.
For example, if you are afraid of socializing, here are some ideas that apply to you:
- Watch one YouTube video that teaches how to socialize
- Watch a great talk show and observe how the interviewer keeps the conversation going
- Go on meetup.com and find a group of shy people with similar interests
- Talk to some of them online and invite them for a real life meetup
- Learn from the experience and find new ways to socialize together
5. Don’t Live in Denial
The most important thing is to examine how your fears are limiting you. Everyone gets so busy living the same routine that they never notice the cage that surrounds them.
If you break open and come out of the cage of fear, you’ll have far more opportunities in life than you ever imagined.
For example, if you’re a creative professional but suck at public speaking, you can earn much more if you improve your public speaking skills. Top achievers earn thousands of dollars per hour from their speaking engagements.
This is perhaps the most important question you would ever ask yourself,
“What fear of mine, if dissolved, will open a large stream of opportunities in my life?”
Remember, the fear may look too big to overcome right now. But if you take gradual steps, it will be easy to conquer.