Why is it that some people achieve seemingly impossible things while others shy away at the smallest challenge? Why is it that only a tiny percentage of the world population go on to accomplish some extraordinary things in their lifetime, while the rest simply tick along from birth to death?
I wonder what it is that we are so afraid of, and how we can break through the barriers that are keeping us safe, but not necessarily happy, so that we can go accomplish some amazing things.
Now, when I say “accomplish some amazing things” I am not saying we all have to head for the Arctic, climb the highest mountain possible, or cross the most treacherous desert… I am talking about those things you’ve always wanted to do: lose that extra weight, get a new job, speak at that event, meet that special person, travel around the world… whatever it is that you really want to do, what’s stopping you?
My guess is that it is not lack of desire. I am sure you want it, badly. Maybe you need some resources, may be you need some skills, a little direction or support to help you along the way. But even if you had everything you need, would you actually get into action and make things happen? My experience with clients has led me to believe that even when they have everything they need, most people still hesitate.
There are two types of people I deal with in my practice. The first type will say “Anna, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”. So I tell them what to do, and they go do it. This is a rare occurrence.
The infamous “what if”: what if I lose weight and then I put it all back on? What if I go for that job and I don’t get it? What if I talk to that girl and she rejects me? etc…
Some of the most ridiculous questions one could ask oneself. Not very useful at all, especially if you want to succeed at anything.
See, according to scientists we are born with only two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises, every other fear we’ve learned. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection… It’s not any of those things that make us afraid. It is the meaning we have learned to give those things.
Throughout history, fear has played an important role in taming the masses. Religion, the government, the education system, the media, our own families… they all have contributed to building many of the irrational fears we hold on to.
I was brought up in a household full of those: fear of what other people will think or say, fear of taking risks or doing anything out of the ordinary, fear of poverty, fear of failure… all the ingredients necessary for a lifetime full of misery!
But we don’t want to be miserable. We want to be happy. So it’s time we free ourselves of whatever bullshit we’ve been holding on to, it’s time to get over our fears and self doubt so we can finally go achieve those things we want to achieve.
Some fears have been so ingrained in our subconscious that it takes time and effort to recondition our mind into thinking more usefully. However, from my experience with clients, the main factor in overcoming any fear is reaching a point when you’ve just had enough. A point when you think about whatever it is that makes you afraid and you go “this is ridiculous!”.
I left Spain for Ireland almost fourteen years ago, at age twenty two, with a one way plane ticket and three hundred pounds in my pocket. To this day clients and friends ask me: weren’t you afraid to come over on your own to a new country where you didn’t know anyone? Hell yes I was afraid! But I was more afraid to go back to what I’d left behind: a life of mediocrity, negativity, and stupid fears that made no sense to me. The thought of having to go back was enough of a propulsion system for me to do anything, anything to make it work for myself here.
Sometimes, as author Susan Jeffers says, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. Because once you’ve taken action, the closer you get to your objective, the more you’re going to want it. And any silly fears you may have left, will simply dissipate.
Also, you have to be willing to fail and don’t let failure affect your ego. Because failure is not a reflection of who you are, it’s just a message to try again and do something different this time.
If you’re struggling with an issue, if you really want to do something that self-doubt or fear has been keeping you from doing, I recommend you take it head on. Don’t let past failures, other people’s fears or insecurities, the economy, or whatever excuse you’ve been making get in your way.
Failure is necessary for success. Anyone who has succeeded at anything has had to take risks. With risk comes failure. And with failure comes success.
So, if you’ve failed before, so what! You better try as much as you can in this life, because once you die, you’ll have no more chances.