1 October 2018
When we’re children, we dream of being an astronaut, living in a castle, having a boat and a horse. We dream of amazing lifestyles and loving life. We dream big. However, we’re also afraid – afraid of the monsters under the bed, of spiders, of being shouted at!
As we grow up, this changes. We dream smaller. We overcome the things we once feared but they’re instead replaced by new fears. What if I fail? What if I succeed and it’s not what I hoped? What if, what if, what if…
However, this time, the fears stick. For some reason we can’t shake adult fears so easily. These ‘what ifs’ are all fears. Reasons to be afraid of making a change and taking the steps you need to to really live the life you want.
So what if we looked at fear differently?
For me, feeling afraid in this way is a motivator. It’s natural when you are embarking on a new journey that you’re afraid of what could or couldn’t happen. As humans we are not built to cope with uncertainty very well. But, I know that when I feel that fear, it’s coupled with excitement. I know that it means I am going after something important. I am chasing a dream that’s important to me, that means something special.
Productivity guru and investor Tim Ferriss did a TED Talk on this about a decade ago which is still highly relevant today. He talks of how when you smash the fear behind something, you’re actually capable of achieving anything.
He says: “Fear is an indicator; it shows you what you shouldn’t do but more often than not it shows you what you should do.” He asks: “What’s the worst that could happen?”
He’s right. Our minds are incredible things. When you flip the way you think about something, the outcome can be entirely different. Imagine how different your approach would be if you didn’t have those fears or worries; how much more you would achieve.
In a similar TED Talk, Karen Thompson Walker, an American novelist, discusses how fear forces us to think differently. We have to be more creative in our thinking and approach. If we didn’t see fear as a weakness and instead saw it as something to analyse more scientifically, as a story, we’d achieve, or at least try to achieve, so much more.
She discusses how fear is an act of the imagination. Our fears are stories that have characters, have images and suspense. So why can’t we treat them that way and change the narrative?
When you stop and recognise that the reason you’re not trying to achieve your goals is because of fear, you can easily change that. See the fear as excitement instead. Focus on what could go right instead of what could go wrong. What if we were more like children, dreaming big and overcoming fears every single day? How much more could you achieve?