By: Matshona Dhliwayo
Fear has been an adversary terrorizing humanity since the beginning of time. A basic emotion like joy or anger, fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat—a survival mechanism in reaction to uncertainty, danger, or pain.
When afraid, the two common reactions are fight or flight, causing us to become weaker or stronger, wiser or dumber, and braver or feebler.
Fear is always the first and final obstacle to attaining whatever you desire; success, therefore, demands that we overcome it.
Below are ten tips for doing so:
- Identify Your Fears—You cannot fight an enemy you cannot identify. To develop your courage, find out what is hindering it; only then can you master fear.
- Understand Your Fears—In war, you have to know your opponent. Only when you study him can you find out his weaknesses, and only when you know his weaknesses can you defeat him. Sometimes, the dangers and threats that we face are smaller than we imagine them to be. Understanding your fears is one of the greatest steps you can take toward conquering them.
- Talk about Your Fears—Talking always helps. It lifts a load off of your chest. Great burdens are never meant to be carried alone. Confiding in someone you trust can remove the fog from your eyes, and you can receive good counsel on how to proceed. Surround yourself with brave people; their inspiration can help turn your obstacles into advantages.
- Read Books—When facing a problem, always remind yourself that someone else has wrestled with a similar predicament. Sometimes, we fear what we don’t understand, and all we need is knowledge to overcome it. The wisdom that took an author years to acquire is at your disposal for only a few hours’ read.
- Recite Affirmations—If you aren’t an avid reader, recite your favorite quotes over and over again. Quotations are short, insightful, and full of inspiration. A book may take an hour or two to lift you up, but an affirmation only takes seconds.
- Think Positively—The old adage “you become what you think” is as true today as it was yesterday. When afraid, diligently manage your thoughts. Think about the best that could happen instead of the worst. Positive thoughts precede positive outcomes.
- Exercise—Stack up the endorphins. Replace stress, fear, and anxiety with happy hormones. Working out also boosts you psychologically.
- Pray—Whether you are religious or not, prayer has been proven to have healing effects. Releasing your fears to a higher power is one of the simplest proven ways of lightening your burdens, especially if you don’t have anyone you can trust.
- Mentorship—Professional athletes, celebrities, entertainers, and business people will be the first to tell you that having a mentor or trainer goes a long way toward helping you accomplish your goals. A life coach, for example, is trained to help you overcome your fear of failure so that you can achieve your dreams.
- Face Your Fears—The majority of fear’s strength comes from making itself out to look larger than it is. When you face your fears, you take away their power; they become weaker, and you become stronger.
In addition to all of the tips above, below are 20 insights extracted from my books to help you overcome fear:
- “Fear weakens you, courage strengthens you, but love makes you invincible.”
- “Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.”
- “When a bird breaks out of its shell, it is defying its greatest opponent: fear.”
- “Our most beautiful dreams are born from our most unpleasant nightmares.”
- “Hate is short, fear is narrow, joy is wide, and love is tall.”
- “Fear has no power over those who face it.”
- “Cowards shrink from challenges, and weaklings flee from them, but warriors wink at them.”
- “When people try to bury you, remind yourself that you are a seed.”
- “When you are walking on water, it is fear, not sharks, that sinks you.”
- “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot, and use it to hang your troubles.”
- “One who conquers fear cannot be conquered by anyone.”
- “Your highest self is revealed in your lowest moments.”
- “Rainbows are birthed in storms, not in the sunshine.”
- “If you are going through hell, keep walking until you reach heaven.”
- “Courage is the spear of destiny.”
- “Your darkest fears are the veil between you and your brightest rewards.”
- “Be like a rose; no matter how many thorns you encounter in life, bloom.”
- “Strength comes from ignoring your critics.
Power comes from mastering your fears.
Fortitude comes from wrestling your opponents.
Superiority comes from overcoming your losses.
Greatness comes from conquering your weaknesses.”
- “On the path to greatness, life teaches you to walk with stones in your shoes.”
- “Life begins at the edge of your fears.”