But fear is a powerful thing, and we must learn how to harness it. Sometimes fear is welcome, like when you’re walking down a dark alley by yourself and you worry someone might jump around the corner. That is a fear you might want to listen to, turn around, and find another way.
But fear isn’t always good, and it shouldn’t always be listened to. In fact, so many people let fear hold them back from doing the things they want to do in life, simply because they have a fear of doubt, a fear of failure, an unwarranted fear of danger, a fear of…
You name it. Our minds are really good at talking us out of things. But how do we overcome those debilitating fears to do the things we really want to do?
Here are three important ways to conquer your fears, no matter what they are:
3) Remember nothing has to be permanent.
This is the one thing that’s made it possible for me to do the things I’ve done, whether it was buying my first one-way ticket to Thailand, or deciding to teach English there, or to move to Colorado to study for two years. The one thing I told myself each time was that it didn’t have to be permanent. Yes, I signed a five-month contract to teach English in Thailand, but I told myself I didn’t have to follow through if I was miserable. The truth is the commitment to a time period — whether three weeks or three years — terrified me, and I never would have went if I truly believed I was bound by it.
2) Think only positive things, and let the negative go.
It’s often easier said than done, but it’s a miracle pill if you can do it. Each time a negative thought enters your mind, just counteract it with a positive. If you’re climbing a mountain and you’re halfway up and beginning to question if you can do it, change your thought to how you’re going to feel at the top, after you’ve accomplished it. Or imagine yourself teaching on the cobbled streets of Nicaragua and ignore the nagging “what if’s” that pop into your mind, focusing only on the way you’ll feel walking to class or the beach each day.
3) Ask yourself what you will regret more.
If you don’t move abroad now while you’re young, childless and free, will you regret it 20 years from now? If you take the job offer and begin a career/don’t take the job offer, will you regret it down the road? If you don’t tell the one you love how you’re feeling, will you regret it later? We know ourselves well enough to know how we will feel in the future, and this tactic has proved immensely helpful in making both big and little decisions in life.
Decisions in themselves can breed fear. But with each conquered fear, we become stronger and more comfortable in our own skin. Try it and see for yourself.