Top Tips for Dealing With and Conquering Fear

Published on January 23, 2014 by Matt Alesevich

Before reading on, take a few seconds to think of your greatest fear. Feel the vulnerability. Experience the mental, or even physical, tension within. Done? Now congratulate yourself—you're completely normal. 

Here at TMHQ, we think fear gets a bad rap. This year, instead of being paralyzed by your fears, let them motivate you. So as you begin your journey standing up to the great bully that is that four-lettered F word, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:

Fear is the guardian of confidence.

As the old saying goes, “In order to get something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done.” Translation? Good things come to those who step outside of their comfort zone. Everything you want out of life is there for the taking, but instead of being optimistically motivated by fear, people pessimistically succumb to it, unaware that the universe is smart and doesn't make anything worthwhile easy to attain.

Fear is your friend.

Without fear none of us would be here, so as crazy as it sounds, fear deserves our thanks. Since the beginning of time, fear has kept us out of harm’s way, allowing us to make wise choices that lead to our continued survival. In a world without an innate sense of fear, our species would have long ago been extinct, as we'd have had no internal compass to keep us away from dangerous caves or high cliffs.

Fear is a sign that something worth having is at stake.

If you're not scared of failing, chances are you haven't set your goals high enough. A common misconception is that bravery is the absence of fear, when in reality it is the total acceptance of, and triumph over, fear. Why do we get butterflies before our dream job interview? Why is a marriage proposal so nerve-wracking? Because something of supremely high value is at stake. The greater the fear, the greater the spoils of victory.

Fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real.

Mark Twain once famously said, “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Like Twain, most of our worries are just that—worries. We take illusionary self-limiting beliefs to be truths and give these false beliefs permission to hold us back. Next time you catch yourself running a negative storyline in your head—recognize it as just that—a story with no ties to reality.

Fear is universal.

Because the only fear we ever feel is our own, it's easy for us to be fooled by the hard, cool and calm exteriors of those around us. But guess what—everyone fears. Even boxing legend Mike Tyson, the Baddest Man on the Planet, had no shame in being afraid. In Iron Mike's own words, “When I come out [to fight], I have supreme confidence, but I'm scared to death. I'm totally afraid. I'm afraid of everything. I'm afraid of losing. I'm afraid of being humiliated.” Now watch a video of Tyson walking into a ring. Can you see the fear in his eyes? No, because he's owning it.

Truth be told, we can go on and on about how fear is an illusion and how all that stands between you and the life of your dreams is a little courage. However, we can only show you the start line—the one who's gotta step up to it is you.