Despite my age, I can remember when I did not fear anything! Although it was a long time ago, I wonder what changed. Fear is a survival mechanism that makes us pull away when you see something or someone dangerous. I often hear that most people’s biggest fear is public speaking, although I have heard people express fear about a variety of subjects and situations. What are you afraid of and how do you overcome your fear?
When was the first time you remember being afraid? Was it the dark when you were a child? Recently, I covered an Art class and one of the students made a drawing about monsters under his bed. It reminded me of the first time I experienced some fear. I was not afraid of the dark, instead my imagination created some interesting things. Was it the dark or just creating scary things? I was influenced by what occurred during the day. It was probably the scary movie I watched just before going to sleep.
When you are very young, it is normal to have fears! How do you deal with fears when you are young? All it takes is some reassurance from your mother or father. As you get older, you develop a mechanism to deal with fear. If you do not, you will never overcome your fear. Usually fears come from a bad experience! I remember going to the dentist at four (4) years old. In those days, fillings were not exactly painless. That early experience influences how I feel about going to the dentist.
It does not stop me from going to the dentist, but I have to overcome my fear. I face my fear and go to the dentist often to avoid problems. I have not had a cavity in 40+ years! Avoidance does not remove the fear. In fact, it perpetuates it! If you think about your fears, you will find that they can prevent you from doing certain things. A great example is fear of flying. You can only travel so far by car, train or ship in a reasonable amount of time. Your vacations would be severely limited by your fear.
My biggest fear was public speaking! I remember taking public speaking in college and scared to death I would freeze up. I had to overcome that fear and I did it by a lot of preparation. Preparation was not just practicing because it is not enough! Every time, the professor asked us to make a speech I was scared to death. To break the ice, he asked everyone to do a short speech as an introduction. To make it even less traumatic, you only had to tell your neighbor. It certainly made it less stressful!
I remember that I had to make a variety of speeches, but one stood out. I did a persuasive speech that I remember worked well. Selecting a subject for the speech was very important to overcoming my fear. I found something I could get excited about and gave me enthusiasm. It makes the task of overcoming your fear a lot easier if you can get excited about the subject. I remember standing there speaking and shaking at the same time. My voice was steady and confident, but my knees were literally shaking.
I remember asking the girl who sat next to me how I did? Did I sound nervous? Was I effective? Her answer was yes and yes! I received an A in that class. More importantly, I learned how to deal with my fears. I learned that planning, preparation and choices are important to overcoming fear. I use these techniques to overcome a variety of fears. Every time you try something new you can have some fear come out to stop you. I often hear how people are afraid to invest in the stock market or rental property.
I am not saying you should not have fear, but you can overcome your fear using these techniques. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous. It is a natural reaction to something new or different unless it stops you from doing what is in your own best interest. A good example is fear of investing! Everyone should invest in their future for retirement or security. Therefore it is important to overcome this fear.
You can reach success without public speaking, but are you overcoming all your fears? What stops you from saving and investing? Is it fear? I doubt it, but you need to overcome the fear of investing. What are your fears? Do they stop you from doing something you really want? Overcoming fears give you confidence to try new things. Can you imagine being confident when you are wrong? Confidence means you choose a course of action. An action plan is always better than inaction.
Making mistakes is better than inaction. Yes, I said that failing is better than doing nothing. If you fail, you can always try different things t o succeed. Most people fail before they succeed. I see some of my students give up because they fail so many times! Their mistake is not trying and getting the help to succeed. It is understandable when you are a teenager, but adults should not give up. What fear stops you?
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