HOW I TAUGHT MYSELF TO FEAR, LESS.
Is it possible to be entirely fearless? No. Yet, you can learn how to fear, less.
Fear is merely a four letter word that every human experiences on a daily basis. It’s intangible yet it seems to control our decision making. How we harness this force shows our true character.
I was a kid without self-esteem growing up. Fear was always a parasite I dealt with when interacting with it. I used it as an excuse to avoid any dreams I had.
Today, I find myself in scary situations that push my heart rate high yet I’m now able to push past the chaos.
HOW DID I MAKE THIS TRANSITION?
By priming my brain to say ‘yes’ to every situation I made the transition. Well, any situation that isn’t illegal, immoral, or unethical.
Since I’ve made this a habit, I’ve become accustomed to handle fear better.
To give some context, in the last three years, I’ve put my body through 60 endurance events ranging from half marathons to several 24-hour ultramarathons. As the opportunity arose for each event, I thought ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’.
I’m not asking you to take on an ultramarathon to build resilience, but there are a few fearful opportunities you could adopt today to experience less fear in the long-run:
Sign up for that class you've been dreading because you're scared what others will think of you.
Are you a couch potato? Sign up for a 5km fun run.
Ask a stranger, “Is there anything I could do to help you today?”
I’ve mentioned cold therapy above with ice showers and not-so-warm showers because they suck (and they're even harder in winter). You don’t need to be a hero your first time and smash out 10 minutes straight away. The key is to build the crescendo, doing a few seconds to start and gradually pushing your limit. Have your hot shower first then blast it to cold when you’re almost ready to get out. The University of College London said in a 2009 study that after 66 days of daily repetition, this won’t feel like work. Plus, you’ve knocked out the hardest thing you could’ve done when you wake up!
To release some of the stress, it is easier if we can be a part of a community, undertaking a new challenge that is scary. We can meet kindred spirits that are on similar journeys which helps if there's any inclination of feeling alone. A community has this underlying family feel where we can experience profound energy at a deep level.
The endurance community is one I need to thank in particular. I’m incessantly surrounded by other ultrarunners that inspire and lift up each other to be the best versions of themselves. Having this support group reduces the fear because of the regular instances of limit breaking proving what’s possible. It’s not a pissing contest because we simply can’t compare ourselves as the circumstances are different from the start.
The point of building up our mental resilience prevents us from freezing up when we approach a big decision. These can range from wanting to ask out a person, to starting a business, or even speaking to a small audience.
What you’re doing essentially is turning that leap of faith from looking like a canyon-distance to a measly foot in length.
QOTD: I'm curious to know what habits have you taken on to make your fears bearable today?
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HANDLING FEAR?
Luckily for you, I have plenty written about it in my new book, Everyone Has a Plan Until Sh!t Hits the Fan. This practical and engaging book offers you at least 10 potential story angles for an engaging and useful article, including:
• How to React to Life’s “Oh, Shit!” Moments (pg. 122)
• The Number One Skill We Should Be Teaching in School (pg. 60)
• How Cognitive Biases Impact Your Daily Decision Making (pg. 84)
• How to Jumpstart Your Creativity (pg. 97)
• Three Skills Every Superhuman Masters (pg. 46)
Here’s what others have to say!
I've received awesome feedback from those who have read the book already and managed to make it a best-seller in a few categories too, which is a bonus. Honestly, the private messages I receive and the impact it can bring is much more gratifying than any accolade.
Grab your copy from any of these main worldwide resellers below if you haven't done so already. Each clickable link takes you directly to the book.