Whether it is writing a novel, starting a business, launching a charity, finishing school, getting a promotion, or traveling, but one hundred doubts fill our heart. Fear quenches our optimism and paralyses us to the point we begin to recite excuses as if we are revising intensely for a pivotal exam and as quickly as the idea enters our mind, we end up shelving the project for a better day.
1. Forget the global financial crisis, let’s talk about the global procrastination crisis! We are all guilty of being “busy” for the sake of it, yet we fail to grasp how much impact daily decisions have on our long-term future and happiness. A million distractions battle for our attention, we spend an average of 2 hours per day on the phone, browsing online in the office, not counting socializing, watching TV, and dating in our spare time. This sounds innocent enough until we breakdown the drastic effects of dragging our feet; postponing action only inhibits us from truly expressing our gifts, it brings ambitions to a standstill, and stifles great ideas to the extent even a well paid career can become frustrating.
On the other hand, having a decent job provides financial security. A reasonable salary funds a good lifestyle along with expensive luxuries meaning most of us will sail through life comfortably, without ever taking any risks at work. Why do folks need to hit rock bottom, have a near death experience, or lose their net worth, before reassessing their goals? It makes no difference whether we’re deliberately or unwittingly lazy because delaying our aspirations always boils down to one thing – fear. You name it; fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of change, fear of success. We can allow fear to conquer us or we can conquer fear! If you have a burning passion inside of you, what are you waiting for? Don’t delay. Start small. Begin now.
2. Similarly to the thrill of an unexpected romance or the gut wrenching pain from a break-up, fear is a whoosh of energy in the pit of our stomach, an adrenaline rush which sends us to the highest peak of our emotional experience; often-times it’s in the stillness of these moments that we harvest strength, dig deep, and gain insight into our capabilities. Just as we cannot hope to fall in love without opening our heart, having faith and taking a calculated risk, there is absolutely no way of gaining resilience, confidence nor authentic success without squaring up to our worst fears.
How do we overcome fear?
In two words: Take Action. Imagine being forced to jump into a deep pool knowing you had never swum a day in your life. At first you’d tentatively peer into the water petrified, and your mind would naturally conjure up all sorts of crazy scenarios from death to injury to prevent you from taking the plunge. But if you jumped or if someone pushed you in, you would only have 2 options, either tread water and swim OR sink! Your survival instinct would force you to tread water therefore perform the unknown – swim. Upon recovery, you’d develop a robust confidence, safe in the knowledge that you managed to overcome an obstacle your mind had previously convinced you was impossible. In one simple sentence, prevailing over fear is having the belief and guts to understand that you will survive against the odds, no matter how high they’re stacked against you.
3. The key to winning in life is beginning. How many times have you dreamt of a genius idea only to be sitting on it years later persuading yourself, the circumstances aren’t conducive to pursue it? Well, all the talking in the world, can never substitute for action. Nobody cares if you’re “thinking” about starting a project; all people want to hear is when you’ve started! An idea should only consume 1% of your effort, because the action will require 99% of your sweat.
At times, we study and do everything in the name of learning as an excuse for not actually doing. Theoretical preparation is fantastic as it equips us with discipline and critical thinking but the best education we can ever receive is during the “process of action”, especially under pressure. Making quick decisions and taking responsibility for them (whether right or wrong) molds and matures us in a way simulated theory never can. Gaining experience also helps us graduate onto the next stage of our journey towards our goals. Even from an outside perspective:
Repeated action brings confidence; confidence provides competence; competence gains trust; trust wins respect!
4. As much as other people’s views are important, their feedback should never take up the lion’s share of how you choose to progress. We must stop pleading for acceptance from the outside world and learn to validate ourselves from within. Life is not a popularity contest. Life is about building a legacy. No one talks about the most popular kid at school. When you catch up with old friends, you ask what people are up to in their lives and the notable ones are those doing well.
On top of that, few people respect anyone who constantly needs validation – it’s draining. Besides, there is no award for trying to fit in. That said, one way to acquire a rewarding life is to stop caring what others will say, as they’re going to say it anyway! You can’t tape people’s mouths shut, so accept there are those who are going to hate on you and those who will support you. Focus your energy towards the latter and work towards your goals. What matters most is how you see yourself. Having a high self worth is more valuable than its weight in gold because the number 1 attribute of all successful people is confidence. Let me qualify, confidence is not arrogance; confidence means no longer needing affirmation from your peers to do you. Always believe in who you are and the skills you have to offer, once you have discovered your purpose.
5. Not long ago, I had a friend, who came to stay with me, and she had every reality TV show known to mankind saved on her laptop. She spent hours watching them and one day turned to me, and asked why I didn’t follow the shows with her, as if I was the strange one! I don’t know anyone who is serious about success yet wastes hours staring at the soap box, (unless they are paid to do so) it is a myth! The finest women in any sector are devoted to self development. It’s never too late to start learning nor make a change in our lives.
However if you choose to watch reality TV, don’t be surprised when you start obsessing over the characters, and what they do, what they say, what they wear, if you’re not careful you’ll want to BE the characters! There is nothing wrong with TV in itself, but remember we are biological computers and we can program whatever we want into our minds.
6. No one likes rejection, but it’s a compulsory part of life, so learn to love it, I mean fall head over heels in love with it! The more we’re rejected, the better, as it teaches us to grow a thick skin. Look on the bright side, scar tissue is stronger than skin tissue; therefore healing from defeat ultimately strengthens our inner core and bestows us with wisdom. If you’re going to fold every time someone says no, then stay exactly where you are, but if you’re ambitious, look forward to joining a very cool alumni, as every successful person was at one time rejected.
JK Rowling, arguably the most famous children’s author, was dismissed by 9 publishers before the Harry Potter series became a world-wide sensation. Does anyone care about that now? No they don’t. Turn your disappointments into a source of motivation, not everyone is going to comprehend your vision, but if you persist, and believe in yourself, you’ll eventually get a breakthrough. The best way forward is to stay humble, work hard, and keep your eye on the prize.
Would you implement these tips into your life?
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