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How to use fear before it uses you
6 ways fear can be your ultimate motivator
Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear that we’re just not enough – fear is a common current that runs through all of our lives. And if we let it, fear can keep us locked up in the prison of the comfortable and predictable, which prevents us from reaching our true potential. Living in fear causes a double conundrum where you’re unfulfilled with the status quo yet afraid to pursue anything better.
But there is also a way that fear can serve a valuable purpose, helping us break through the frustration to achieve the life we truly desire. That’s right – if you allow it to, fear can become a tool for finding fulfillment.
In your mind, if you have no choice but to succeed – if achieving your goal is an absolute must – then nothing else matters. Sacrifices won’t even be a question. Excuses go out the window. You’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Period.
This is how some of the most successful people learn how to stop living in fear. Rather than allowing fear to creep in and suck the life right out of their dreams, they know that the real fear is the price they will pay if they don’t give their goals and visions every ounce of energy and focus they have. They know the real fear is living a life where they have settled or compromised on what they really wanted.
How do you adopt that mindset and perspective? With the right resources, you can learn how to not live in fear so you can step into your true greatness.
The psychology of living in fear
To understand what living in fear means, realize that, to a point, fear and anxiety have a place in healthy human psychology. Fear is a normal emotion that signals a potential threat to your physical or emotional safety. Anxiety warns you of the threat, prompting you to protect yourself. As Psychology Today reports, it’s when the anxiety response becomes chronic or hyper-sensitive that we experience the fallout of living in fear. With chronic fear, you’re not experiencing anxiety – you’re living in it. The fear response becomes a maladaptive lifestyle, influencing everything you think, feel and do. Living in fear keeps you stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of defeat and frustration.
The upside to fear is that the emotions surrounding it are usually so unpleasant that they drive you to find another way. There are many strategies for how to stop living in fear, from mindfulness meditation to physical exercise or seeking professional help. When you commit to facing your fears, you’re able to discover strategies to overcome them and find peace.
How to stop living in fear
Here are 6 tips on how to stop living in fear so your anxieties don’t control you.
1. Determine the source of your anxiety
If you’re living in fear, your anxieties have escalated to the point that they’re running the show. You’re thinking about your worries constantly without much mindfulness as to what’s behind them. To learn how to not live in fear, you must pinpoint what’s causing your distress. Get out a piece of paper and brainstorm a list. When you’re finished, circle the items that are tangible concerns – fears that your house will burn down, your kids will go missing or you’ll lose your job tomorrow. By each fear, note its likelihood along with preventative or ameliorative actions you can feasibly take. For the intangible concerns – fears of the apocalypse, alien invasion from Mars or worldwide economic collapse – you’ll need to employ self-care practices to become adaptable at living with unknowns.
2. Determine if your goal is a “must”
Ask yourself what it will cost you if you don’t learn how to stop living in fear. This will help you discover whether or not achieving a specific goal is a “must” and not just a “should.”
Sound confusing? Try imagining yourself when you are 80 years old, nearing the end of your life. You are sitting in your rocking chair, reflecting on how you lived your life. Now, look back on your life as if you had not achieved the goal you are after at this moment in your life. How has this affected the course of your life? What are your regrets? What do you wish you had made more time for? What do you wish you had tried? Is there sadness and regret? Are you wondering, “What if…?” In this way, you can use fear to propel you toward your ultimate goal.
3. Recognize the excuses
It’s easy to push our hopes, desires and dreams aside. We make excuses: There’s just not enough time, I don’t have the money or the resources, I have a family, I’m just too busy. And we start to hide behind those excuses instead of learning how to not live in fear. Because they’re comforting. They’re safe. But excuses will also bring you back to exactly where you started. So remember that the next time an excuse floats into your mind. Are you truly where you want to be in life? Or are you falling back on fear and choosing to be comfortable instead of facing a challenge? By becoming more cognizant of your brain’s proclivity for using excuses so you won’t be held accountable, the better you will become at dismissing them.
4. Adopt a growth mindset
People often give up on what they want because they believe that reaching their goal is beyond their abilities. They never learn how to stop living in fear and settle into their lives, thinking that their goal is unattainable so they shouldn’t try at all. But the most successful people foster a growth mindset. They don’t think of their abilities as fixed, but rather as flexible. And when faced with a setback, they try harder. They adopt a new strategy. They keep seeking a solution. They don’t give up when things become challenging. Instead, they find new ways to adapt and work harder to achieve their goals.
5. Pain brings valuable insight
There isn’t one successful person in the world who hasn’t had to overcome major obstacles. The most painful experiences can help refine what you want and what you don’t want in life. Failure, disappointment, dead-ends – these can all be used as a means of reflecting and saying, “This didn’t work. It wasn’t the right fit. So what do I really want?” Remember, we are built to adapt. So embrace this strength and use each experience as a tool to help you learn more about yourself and what you really must have in life. When you’re facing a painful experience or feel ready to give into fear, picture someone you admire who faced adversity – they wouldn’t have achieved the success they now have without learning how to stop living in fear.
6. Know that failure is inevitable
You will fail. It’s just part of the process. Any successful person will tell you that. But failure provides insights and inherently corrects the faulty ways of approaching a problem. There is no teacher as impactful as the sting of failure. And no lesson in resilience better than the burn of rejection. But if you use these experiences as unique information, and adjust your strategy and approach the next time around, you will have an advantage that no one else does. With the right mindset, you can change your story and learn how to stop living in fear.
If you’re ready to learn how to stop living in fear, you have to decide that your dreams are more important than your fear of failure. Make the decision today to master your fears and start existing as the most joyful, successful version of yourself possible. Get the support you need with Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Edge, your resource for overcoming obstacles and discovering your true desires.