Do you know that feeling nauseous in the stomach area when you want to try something unknown?
Whenever you leave the familiar and try something new, you will encounter fear.
If you want to be successful and make your dreams come true, you won’t be able if you are not ready to face your greatest fears. You will be faced with the challenge of leaving the familiar behind to let the new, much nicer, into your life.
Anxiety can be a prison. If you want to face it, one thing that is needed above all is courage. To be brave means to face your fears. You can find out how to do this best in this article.
“The secret of happiness is freedom, but the secret of freedom is courage” – Pericles (ancient Greek statesman)
You will learn:
What fear is and how it is holding you back
What it means to be brave
How to train your courage and become braver
How to deal with fear better
Why courage is rewarded
Fears in today’s world
The root of the word ” courage ” is the Latin word ” Cor “, which means ” heart “. Living bravely means living from the heart.
The heart longs for the new and self-realization, but the mind fears for its existence and wants to prevent us from doing so.
We imagine the worst horror scenarios that could go wrong.
Most likely you live somewhere in one of the safest countries in the world. You don’t have to worry about your survival.
Accordingly, most fears today – rationally speaking – are superfluous.
The strongest instinct in our being is the survival instinct. Since we have survived so far, our minds want us to stay in the familiar, because habits are a guarantee of survival.
Therefore, the mind is mostly against new things and sabotages the courage: Every time you dare something new, your body reacts with fear.
In the past, this fear had its right to exist, since the unknown could lead to death. But a lot has changed in this world in the past 10,000 years.
From an evolutionary point of view, 10,000 years is a joke.
For example, if you have never given a speech and you want to give a lecture, your body behaves similarly as if a sabre-toothed tiger were standing in front of you ready to attack.
Fear is an uncomfortable feeling, but it will only go away if you face it.
Whenever you do something new, you will encounter fear. This is not only true for you, but for all other people too.
Fear often shows us where the real treasures of our lives are hidden.
If you want to achieve your goals, you will not be able unless you deal with your fears and confront them.
“If longing is greater than fear, courage is born.” – Seneca (Roman philosopher)
What does it mean to be brave?
To be brave is not to do things that are very dangerous to your body, your life or your prosperity.
This is called “being addicted, after the adrenaline rush ” or even ” stupidity “:
- To put all your money into a Chinese company stock
- Climbing without protection
- Riding a motorcycle at high speed – at night and in the rain – without a helmet and hands-free
- Skydiving without a parachute
To be brave means doing the things we want with all our hearts. It doesn’t mean to be fearless. Despite the fear, it means doing what you know is right:
- End an unhealthy relationship
- To quit your job that doesn’t fulfill you
- To move to another city
- To travel to an unknown country
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be big things. It’s often the little things that make us nervous:
- To address an interesting person
- To speak your mind and stand by it
- To be able to say “No”
- To give a lecture
You feel the fear, but you still act – that’s courage. Being brave does not mean not being afraid, it is not allowing yourself to be dominated by fear.
How do you get braver?
How do you learn to relax? By consciously relaxing. How do you become more disciplined?
By acting disciplined. So how do you get braver? Bingo: By acting brave!
Similar to our self-discipline, there is a kind of muscle for our courage.
Whenever you train this muscle, so by acting bravely, it gets bigger and stronger.
Whenever you face your fears, you will feel better no matter how it turns out.
You grow by facing your fears.
If you regularly confront your fears, you will build up bomb-proof confidence over time. Confidence is the certainty that you can cope with any situation.
Nevertheless, people tend to do things that are comfortable and enjoyable playing it safe.
But mostly it is exactly the things that are not fun in the short term that really move us forward in our lives.
Confronting fears is the best example of this: In the short term, it may feel uncomfortable to face your fears, but in the long run, you will become fear-free and you grow.
To give up the short-term pleasure and instead do the things that really move you forward, one thing is needed: self-discipline.
For this reason, self-discipline is the basic requirement of courage.
8 tips to better deal with fear
1. Take small steps
If you told me to give a lecture to 1,000 people in two weeks, I would be afraid. I would give this talk, but it would push me to my limits.
I regularly give lectures to 10-15 people on a safety topic at work. For me, these are no longer a major overcoming.
It is easier to increase the number of people from 10 to 20, then to 50, to 100, 200, 500, until the lecture in front of 1,000 people is more feasible.
Going straight to the extreme can overwhelm us. In the example above, this would be the direct jump from 15 to 1,000 people.
If you are afraid to approach people, you could start by asking strangers about the way or the time.
If this is no longer a problem for you, the next step would be to exchange a few sentences of small talk with the person opposite you.
This principle is also called comfort zone expansion. You face your fear continuously, but in steps that are feasible for you.
In this TEDx video, Corey Poirier Talks about how people crush fears and expand their comfort zones.
2. Do something you’re afraid of every day
Your courage muscle grows by training it. What would be better than a daily workout?
Do at least one thing every day that you’re afraid of or that is new to you. It doesn’t have to be big things like giving a speech in a busy square. Small things are enough:
- Try a new restaurant
- Take another route to work
- Conduct a short small talk with a seller in a shop
- To try a new sport
- Instead of using Google Maps, ask someone else for directions
If you face your fear for one year, at least once a day, and do things differently, that’s 365 new things.
That means 365 times a little boost for your self-confidence.
Constantly confronting your fears brings you more than if you only confronted your fear once in a larger action.
Ideally, combine the daily small actions, regularly with larger actions, such as giving a lecture.
3. Raise awareness of the feeling of fear and do not identify with it
If the fear comes up, we don’t want to feel it and push it away. This does not lead to anything because it only makes it stronger.
It is better to perceive the emotion and allow it to be there.
However, do not identify yourself with your fear. You are not your emotion!
When the emotion train rolls on, many people jump on the train and ride with it. This means that they let emotion travel with them.
If it comes to this, the emotion then determines its action. The greater the fear, the harder it is not to get carried away.
Learn to perceive fear, but not to let it travel with you. The more you try, the better it will work. You can feel the fear, but still, decide how to proceed next.
4. Relax on a physical level
Anxiety is felt on a physical level:
- The muscles cramp
- Breathing becomes shallower
- Your heart beats faster
- The more cramped you are, the more fear will grow.
As soon as you feel fear, consciously make sure to relax your body. Breathe deeply into your stomach and relax your muscles.
This will reduce the fear, which will make it easier for you to deal with it. If the fear is weaker, you will also not easily get carried away by it (see point 3).
5. Try to look at your fear as objectively as possible
Fear is an emotion that often makes no sense at a rational level. Accordingly, your mind can help you understand that nothing can happen to you.
What are you afraid of? Imagine that you overcome your fears and act.
In the worst case, what can happen to you – realistically speaking?
Consider the negative effects on a scale of 1-10 (1 = nothing can happen; 10 = physical pain/death, loss of your complete wealth).
How much is your life-changing for the negative?
You do the same now in case it works.
What is there to win at best? On a scale of 1-10: What positive effects can it have on your life if you face your fears?
It is often the case that we have little to lose and everything to gain.
Let’s take the example that you want to approach an attractive person:
Even if he/she is not interested, there is a high probability that he/she will thank you for the interest in him/her.
In the worst case, he/she reacts annoyed and gives you a basket. Maybe a few outsiders will notice.
After 5 minutes at the latest, they forgot this again (on the scale: 3-4).
Ideally, you will get to know the partner of your dreams (on the scale: 10).
6. Visualize positive images
What pictures do you see in your head? Do you see yourself failing or do you see yourself coping with the situation ahead of you?
Especially in moments of fear, we run the most ridiculous horror scenarios together in our heads. This often happens unconsciously.
Watch yourself in moments of fear: is the film running in your head, what could go wrong?
If so, imagine how you can cope with the situation in front of you.
Have thoughts that match the results you want.
Visualization alone does not change anything in the real world. This only happens through action.
7. Get support from a good friend
When we are alone, fear can overwhelm us. A friend can help us not to be carried away by fear.
He can help you overcome yourself and is there for you afterwards. Even if things go wrong, he can quickly change your mind.
8. Be good to yourself!
As much as I wanted to, I often couldn’t bring myself to call an unpleasant customer or speak to an attractive woman.
Immediately the voice in my head started to judge me:
“You will never become anything!”
“You are such a failure!”
“You don’t even dare!”
If you face your fears, you will always find yourself in situations where you are paralyzed by fear.
The worst thing you can do afterwards is to judge yourself for it. That won’t take you a step further and pull you down even more. Would your best friend talk to you like this? No, so don’t talk to yourself like that!
You can understand the following: You and I did our best in every situation. If we could have done it better, we would have done it better.
Conclusion – being brave is rewarded
Fear was justified 10,000 years ago. In today’s world, it is usually superfluous. Once you understand that, you’ve already won half the game.
If we want to make our dreams come true, we have to face our fears. Where there is fear, there is often the way.
Anxiety can be a prison. To be brave means to feel fear and to act anyway. The fear will only go away if you overcome yourself and act.
Every time you face your fears, you free yourself a little more from this prison – no matter how it ends. This builds self-confidence.
Courage is rewarded. Maybe not immediately, but definitely in the long run. Don’t let setbacks discourage you and try again.
“Courage is based above all on the will to have it.” – Ellen Key (Swedish reformist and writer)
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