We all have things we are afraid of. However, please allow me to start this post with a personal story of mine and how I managed to overcome some of my fears.
What Caused my Fear – The Accident and The First Challenge
The story begins many years ago. It was before I had my final exams to enter university. During that time 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 would ever walk again. It all happened around Christmas and my final exams to enter University were in June.
The First Daring Choice – The Exams
As you can understand, when June arrived I was not in a condition to take those exams. However, I did. As expected I scored really low. But at that time I did not take those exams to get a high score. I did it because honestly I felt terrified that I might not even be able to get to the exam center.
I was afraid that even if I finally got to the exam center, I might not be able to climb up the stairs to the first floor. That I wouldn’t be able to write not even those few things that I had the time and energy to study. And the reason why I wouldn’t write them would be that I would not manage to sit on a chair for too long. I was afraid that I would easily collapse. See, 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 was happy because I went there, climbed up the stairs, and took those exams. I could have decided not to. Nobody would blame me if I did. But at the time it felt like I would be giving up if I didn’t.
Finally, even if my score was low I managed to be accepted into one school. It was of course one of my very last choices but it still was one school of my choice. After all, that time it was not about entering a school anyway.
That school was “Landscape architecture” and I decided not to study at it. I decided to take the exams again the following year, as I did. That year I entered a school that was my third choice.
A New Challenge – Another Fear to Overcome
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 to even think about the possibility 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?
“He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Second Daring Choice – Moving Away
Well, they were right. Moving so far away from home, living alone at the age of 18, and having all the issues I had at the time, meant 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. There was nobody I knew. 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 had 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 situated 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. I managed to overcome my fears through daring choices and I did it all by myself.
“There is no illusion greater than fear.”Lao Tzu, Tao Teh Ching
How to Overcome Your Fears
1. Overcome Your Fears by Identifying them
What is that that is causing you fear? Try to identify it clearly. Use words and put them down in a clear sentence. Because just thinking about it might not be clearly stated try to write it down in one sentence.
For 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. Overcome Your Fears by Identifying The Logic Behind Them
Is your fear a logical fear or something else? The fear that is holding you back is there to protect you or is it just an idea inside your head?
In my case, when I decided to take the exams for the first time I was afraid that I might collapse during them. This was a logical fear since I was still in a really bad physical condition. The fear was there to remind me to be cautious and take things easy.
The second time, when I decided to move away, my fear was the fear of the unknown. This fear had no actual logic behind it. If you think about it better, every single day of our life includes the unknown. We can never know what tomorrow might bring in our lives but yet we continue living.
3. Overcome Your Fears by Creating 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.
In my case, for my first fear of collapsing during the exam, 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. With reasonable actions if needed.
About my fear of moving away and dealing with the unknown, I just believed a bit more in myself and showed some trust that nothing terrible will happen. Ah, and also tried to find doctors and health check centers within the first week I moved, just in case…
4. Overcome Your Fears By Taking That Daring Decision and Trusting Yourself
Nobody knows if fear can be left behind until actually tries it! If you know what is 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?!
Final Thoughts on How to Overcome Your Fears Through Daring Choices
Looking back at my story I am so glad I made those choices. I know I was afraid. Certainly, I can still remember my legs shaking as I was climbing up the stairs to the exam center that first time. I can also recall the pain I felt all over my body after the three hours of the exam duration. But what I remember most is the feeling of satisfaction after beating my fear.
It might have been tough but I decided to think about them all as a big lesson. Thinking about it now I am glad all these happened because they helped me find out how to overcome my fears.
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 lives 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?