You know those sayings about not worrying what you can’t control. It’s something I always say to myself and my inner circle. And although I’m a believer in this as well, we are still humans and whether we like it or not, sometimes this feeling of anxiety or fear jumps on you like a ninja in the dark. Because let’s face it, fear is still a real feeling. Friends saying “It’s just your imagination, don’t worry about it”, usually only calms you down for 5 minutes. And then the mind games start again. Relax it’s totally normal, it’s how our brain works and the good news is that we can train our brain to counteract these feelings.

Fear is Real

We need to recognise fear exists before we can conquer it. In today’s transparent world your goals and vision easily get blurred. Research shows that in today’s connected, but social media intoxicated, world the level of anxiety especially amongst millennials has significantly increased. Fear of missing out (hello FOMO!) or the fear of not being accepted. The list goes on.

Since our world is so connected to a level we have never seen before, we need to be aware and train our brains even more. Because fear is the number 1 enemy of success and it stops people capitalising on opportunities. Fear has the power to impact your health, literally can make people sick and closes your mouth when you want to speak. It explains why we still have economic recessions and explains why millions of people accomplish little and enjoy little.

Superheroes are Fearless

When you look at game changers, artists, top actors or A-class entrepreneurs who built billion dollar companies you might think that these super-heroes never have fear, are confident and never had failures. The reality is of course far from that. Elon Musk once said about fear. “I feel fear quite strongly. But there are times that you believe in things enough that you just go ahead. You accept the chances of failure. The success rate of SpaceX was not more than 10%, but we still went ahead. The same applied to Tesla, the odds of a car company succeeding were extremely low. But even if I died or the company went bankrupt, at least another company can pick up the baton and continue the work”.

In a famous graduation speech of Jim Carrey he said, quote: “Decisions are based out of love or fear. You can fail at what you don’t want in life. So you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”

“You need to fail, learn how to fail and condition yourself to fail in order to find success.” ~ Tim Ferris

Build Confidence to Fight Fear

When we define fear as lack of confidence, we actually already know how to fight fear. We train our confidence muscle. Confidence is cultivated and developed. Nobody is born with confidence. Sure there might be some genes that make you more prone to a confident thinking, but most of confidence is pure training. Game changers, top leaders, A-players develop a hardiness in the face of fear.

Once there was a man, that was a mountain climber, he misjudged his pace and the weather. It suddenly went from sunny weather to a major thunderstorm in a few minutes. He found himself stuck on a narrow edge of the mountain where he had to stay the night. It was was pitch-black, the wind was blowing and he feared of dying every second. As you can imagine it was the longest night in his life. The next day when the sun came through, he looked down with clear visibility and started laughing. Because the entire night he was so afraid of falling down thousands of metres, while there was a big rock plateau just 5 metres below him.

Fear is a mental infection and we can cure a mental infection the same way we cure a body infection, with specific, proven methods.

  1. Practice bravery training. Put in the practice hours. If you want to be a great soccer player, you need to train every day. If you want to be a great entrepreneur, you need try a lot of things and put in the hours. In general it takes 10.000 hours or 10 years, before the first signs of genius show. So practice becoming fearless. Everything that scares you, is bravery training.
  2. Release attachment to outcomes. Just like Elon Musk was detaching himself from the outcome of SpaceX. Often times we don’t do certain things, because we’re afraid of the outcomes. If we detach ourselves we create room for bravery and build confidence. A nice exercise is to always ask for 10% discount at Starbucks or a free upsize next time you go to McDonald’s. The outcome is not important. How you deal with rejection and failure is the training.
  3. Hang with the heroes. You become your conversations. Listening to an audiobook is like a conversations. Read the books of people that have overcome adversity. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely.
  4. Embrace the mess. The things you now find easy, were initially hard. All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and beautiful in the end. Welcome the mess. Progress is messy and it’s fine.

Conclusion

Fear is real. Confidence is real. When we focus on the right muscle to train, we can control our fears and act with bravery. In today’s transparent world it is getting more difficult to focus on your own vision and goals, because other peoples lives are constantly in your social media feed. This can make you feel insecure and deprive you from confidence. That’s why it’s even more important to practice the above mentioned 4 exercises to strengthen your confidence and do what you’re meant to do.

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