Feb 21, 2008

Free Your Fears Fire Your Potential

Conquer Fear
They say that we are born with only two fears -

 The fear of falling, and...

 The fear of loud noises.

The rest of our fears are 'learnt' as we walk along life. When I look back at my life, this four letter word has been a self inflicted stumbling block. Yes, nothing less than self inflicted because most of my fears have been the product of my own over working imagination. Lack of self belief and an abject dependence on the status quo had paralyzed my desires and self-motivation.

"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."
---- German Proverb

Telescoping back I remember my two biggest fears. Fear of public speaking and my ultra fear of water (Brought about by "Jaws"). These two fears I later learnt are shared by the majority of mankind. Universal fears. But at that point of my life I was not really concerned about the rest of mankind. It was me alone with my fears. Providence took care of the first fear in Business College, when I had to give weekly presentations in front of a 100 odd audience. I did botch up the initial five to six at the lectern. My legs shook more vigorously than my mouth...but gradually with persistence, courage and with the knowledge that I couldn't get any worse than I already was, I started to improve. It took time and lots of missed grades but by the second year, I had made the lectern my ally. I was no Winston Churchill but I was no turkey either.

The second of my fears took a little longer. In my 30th year, I put all my trust (and my life) in my instructor and completed two laps of a fathomless neighborhood pond. This achievement was more treasured for me because it was a deliberate attempt to conquer my fear.

Both times, I have realized that those two fears weren't monsters at all. I had made them bigger than they actually were. My imagination was the compost on which the fears had fed. Today, I take a formulaic approach towards my other sowed fears.

If my imagination can make the fears a gigantic fiend perhaps a change in outlook can make them friends. I have thus started to reframe the other fears that come along.
I ask myself a few questions...in the answers lies the neutralizer for the fears.

1. What am I so afraid of?
2. Is this fear stopping me from becoming a more self confident person?
3. What’s the worst thing that can happen if I attempt this?
4. What’s the best thing that can happen?
5. Looking back at my life 20 years from now...will I feel regretful and wish that I should have done this?
6. Has anyone else faced the same fear and come out on top? If they can...why can't I?

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

To overcome a fear, all we have to do is to realize it’s their and do the thing we fear anyway. I am sure I wasn't born with a lot of derring-do, but then I wasn't born with fear too. So why let it be a speed breaker on my life's path. And why let it be one in yours. So try to free your fears and set fire to your potential.

To sum it all up here's some wisdom from Jane Addams -

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.

If you have conquered any of your fears do comment and let me know. Perhaps, it will be a continuing inspiration for me.

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