Let me start this post with a personal story of mine.
The story begins almost 20 years ago. It was before I had my final exams to enter university. It was then that I had a bad accident and had to spend 3 months in hospital with my doctors questioning whether I would ever be as I used to be and whether I should ever walk again. It all happened around Christmas and my final exams to enter University were in June.
As you can easily understand, I was not in the condition to take those exams. However, I did. As expected I scored really low. I did not take those exams at the time because I thought that I might get a high score. I did it because honestly I was terrified that I might not even be able to get to the exam center. I was afraid that even if I finally got there, I might not be able to climb up the stairs to the first floor. That I wouldn’t be able to write at least those few things that I had managed to study, and that would happen because I would get too tired sitting on a chair for too long. My physical condition was really bad back then.
Once I finished the exam, I felt exhausted, but so happy for myself just because I did it. I went there, climbed up the stairs and took those exams. I could have decided not to do it. I was excused. But at the time it felt like I would be giving up if I didn’t. It proved that even if my score was low I managed to be accepted in one school. It was of course one of my very last choices but it still was one school of my choice.
The school was “Landscape architecture” but I decided not to attend it. Lots of things would have been much different if I had attended it. But I didn’t. I decided to take the exams again next year, as I did, and entered a school that was my third choice. Computer Science and Digital Communications.
It was a year and a half after my accident, but I still hadn’t recovered completely. The school that I entered was 450 Km away from my home city. My parents were terrified even at the thought of me moving so far away. I was still in need of medication and medical supervision. Who would be cooking for me? Who would be looking after me?
Well, they were right. Moving so far away from home and living alone at the age of 18 and having all the issues I had at the time, ment only one thing. That there was nobody else to take care of me, but me.
I have to admit that at the beginning it was hard and scary. I knew nobody. I had never been to this big city before and I had no idea where everything was. I felt like the fish out of the water.
At this point I have to mention that in my home town is situated one of the biggest universities in the country. And as a matter of fact, it also has the same school I entered back then. The thing is that I never chose the school that was near. Not because it was not good enough for me, but because if I stayed I would not have become good enough for me.
All the schools I chose back then were at least 300 Km away. I wanted to challenge myself to do all those things that my parents were afraid of. I wanted to challenge myself to do all those things that I was terrified of.
There was a chance that they would prove right. There was a huge chance I would be unable to manage it on my own. It could have been a wrong decision, a mistake. Maybe I would have to give up and move back home.
But I didn’t. I stayed there, I fought and finally made it. All by myself.
4 Steps to Overcome Your Fears
1. Identify the fear
What is that that is causing you fear? To me when I decided to take the exams for the first time was my bad physical and medical condition. The second time was the fear of the unknown. The fear that I will not make it on my own.
2. Identify the logic behind the fear
Is this fear a logical fear or something else? For me when I decided to take the exams for the first time I was afraid that I might collapse during the exams, but it was a logical fear since I was still in really bad condition. I also used to be afraid of heights but this is a phobia not the kind of fear I am talking about. My second fear, the fear of the unknown, had no actual logic behind it since if you think about it better every single day of our life includes the unknown.
3. Create a safety net
Let us be reasonable. I would never suggest you jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Even at the most daring choices you must have a little plan in case everything is fucked up. For my first fear of collapsing, what I made sure of was that I took my exams in a special examination center for kids with health issues. This meant that there was an ambulance in front of the building and a nurse inside each class, just in case something happened. It was a reasonable fear and had to deal with it accordingly. For my second fear I just believed a bit more in myself and showed some trust in the universe. Ah, and also tried to find doctors and health check centers within the first week I moved, also just in case…
4. Take that daring decision and trust yourself
Nobody knows if a fear can be left behind until they actually try! If you know what is that that you are afraid of and why you are afraid of it you can start creating your safety net. Once you are done just do it! Worst case scenario you will just fall on your safety net. Best case scenario …..Who knows?!
Looking back at my story I am so glad I made those choices.
Yes, fear of the unknown is huge and always our decisions might turn out as big mistakes, but, what are we if we do not make mistakes? If we do not make hard decisions that might change our life forever? If we don’t push ourselves to our limits?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
What about you?
What was the most daring choice you had to make in your life?