Fearless Thinking 101
Fear is easy. Being fearless is the trick. Often times the only thing in the way of our dreams is our own fear. We can’t hide from it, it’s always there and can become worse than any bully we may encounter. We have to cultivate a way of fearless thinking.
You may think that fearless people literally have no fear. While it’s true that some people experience more anxiety, even on a chemical level than others it is also true that most people find themselves afraid. Fearless people aren’t just lucky enough to not feel anxiety. They cultivate ways of pushing through and dealing with their fears so that they seem, in practice, fearless.
Know Your Fears
There is power in naming your fears. If you are battered by anxiety, you may not even know what triggers it. For instance, you may think the fear of social embarrassment keeps you away from parties, but it may actually be due to loud noises. You might even fear success and engage in self-sabotage.
You may think that being fearless involves forgetting fear, but you need to define your fears to overcome them. Study them, discipline them, and keep them in line. Before long they will not trouble you any longer. They won’t ever go away, but you will have a way of living together in peace with your fears.
When we flinch or avoid eye contact, people know that we are not uncomfortable. Fear works this way as well. When you bow to it, it gets more powerful. Rather than flinching, you need to stare down fear. Maybe even play a good ol’ game of chicken with it.
The more you face your fear, the better you will get at it. It will also become less scary because you know more about what might actually happen if you face it. You can’t stop, though, or your fears will again sap your strength. You have to keep facing them to keep them in check.
According to success.com, When researcher Carol Dweck gave children a problem to solve, most buckled and bellyached, but some salivated at the difficult challenge. A growth mindset is an understanding that failure is a necessary step on the road to mastery. The curious kids overpowered their fear of embarrassment and pressed on. They were far more likely to solve problems.
We need to be like those kids, feeling excited over a new challenge rather than upset. We need to keep looking for new challenges and facing them head-on. That is what the fearless do, and we can train to be like them.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Have a plan B and C. If you know something might go wrong, plan to face it. Planning will give you power over fear because you can quiet your mind. When your mind pops up with some worry, but you can just tell it “We’ll shift to plan B if that happens.” You’re in control and your mind will find ease.
You can also plan for what might happen if you find yourself overwhelmed. When fear creeps up, we might end up frozen and not knowing what to do. If you have a plan like taking a deep breath and counting to three, for instance, then you are in control. You won’t freeze. Instead, you will behave as if you were fearless.
Fearlessness is not a genetic trait. We can become fearless by disciplining ourselves to face and deal with our fears in a healthy way. After all, no one would be brave if no one was ever afraid.