Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears – Les Brown
Greetings my esteemed friends all over the world
It may interest you to know that I was inspired to write this piece a long time, but it is better late than never. Though few in words, I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep my friends engaged one more time.
What is fear? What does fear mean to you? And how can fear be overcome? These are some of the angles we shall be discussing throughout this discourse. Each and every one of us has fear living in us. Our fears may range from business fears as an entrepreneur or salesperson, fear of marriage, having to pay bills, etc. Fear can be simply defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Simply put, fear arises when we are afraid of the unknown.
Personally, I think as human beings, there’s nothing that threatens our existence more than fear. Yes, we all live with fear in one way or another, but what’s important is how we allow it to impact our life and our attitude. We shall discuss other components of fear and how we can overcome it.
As we make resolutions for the coming year, I strongly believe many are entertaining some fear as well. I just hope you don’t allow fear to hinder you from reaching your target. Whatever the case may be, I want you to know that nothing scares a man more than fear.
It is your obligation to
overcome it no matter the challenges you may face.
Whenever you are faced with fear, you always have a choice. It’s either you “Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything and Rise.” If you decide to choose the former, you will have to live to fight again to overcome that fear, but if you choose the latter, you are not only being optimistic and positive, you are a leader. Yes, great leaders live above their fears. Any leader who can’t overcome his or her fear is a shallow and myopic leader. But villains face their challenges and rise. Be advised, whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you strong.
The question now is, what are the types and causes of fear and how can we overcome our them? Fear can be regarded as a less form of phobia; they may seem similar, but the difference lies in the intensity and severity of the emotions experienced. A Phobia is the heightened form of fear. The common types of phobias can be divided into ‘simple’ phobias or ‘social’ phobias. Simple phobias can be described as the fear of specific types of objects, insects or situations such as the fear of flying. Social phobias can be defined as the marked fear of social or performance situations. For a more detailed list of different types of phobia please see http://www.phobialist.com/
There are five types of fear:
1. Fear of Extinction: This is
the kind of fear a person feels when he or she feels they will die or will be
2. Fear of Mutilation: This is the fear that arises when one discovers he or she will lose a part of his or her body. It can also result from a fear of animals or insects.
3. Fear of Autonomy: This results from the fear of feeling paralyzed or restricted. It is commonly called claustrophobia which is the fear of being confined in a place where one is been controlled beyond once circumstances.
4. Fear of Separation: This is the feeling of abandonment, rejection, and losing connectivity of either a loved one or someone we appreciate due to the role he/she plays in our life.
5. Ego death: This is the fear of humiliation due to one’s reputation or personality which threatens the self-worth and respect of the person. According to Euripides “Death is a price we all must pay.” We must surely die one day, but the question is how do you prepare for death? According to Mark Twain, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF FEAR: There are many causes of fear. Fear can be a result of failure, rejection, judgment, success, speaking, financial instability, fear of meeting people and going to places, and fear of the unknown. In summary all these are from the fear of the unknown. All the aforementioned fears imprison you from passing through stages of your life. Fear is indeed a prison! It locks up your mind from thinking out of the box.
DOUBT AND FEAR: This is another form of imprisonment -you cannot achieve anything substantial in life if you don’t have faith in yourself. In similar ways, you can never succeed in life if you have doubt and fear in your life. There is an adage that says, “in doubt, do not act”. Whenever you experience fear, always remember the words of Katasai Rakshaha, “those who fear darkness, have no idea what light can do“. That’s why it is always advisable for your faith to be bigger than your fears. I had an experience while studying Taxation Law at New York Law School. Being that it is a major that scares many people due to the concepts and technicality inherent to it, many people shy away from it. During the course of the program, I was unable to comprehend the major because of the concepts and its application, in addition to not having a proper grounding and passion for it. I was concerned about achieving the required score needed to graduate from the program. At a point in the program when I considered quitting, I saw a post on Facebook which read, “You cannot know what you know you can’t know.” After reading the post, I said to myself, “yes that’s me.” The following week, I saw another post, ” Your desire for success should always outweigh your fear of failure.” I took the last quote because it assisted me in overcoming my fear and doubts. I say this because, if only you realize how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think negatively again.
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN: Most times, we are afraid of superficial beliefs: what will people say, what will happen if A or B doesn’t happen? These thoughts cause so much fear in our minds to the extent we lose our present sense of enjoyment. It should be noted that there’s nothing that kills a person more than fear. I ask, why are you so anxious for tomorrow? Don’t you know by thinking of tomorrow, you are losing today? I strongly believe in the saying “what will be will be (Que sera sera).” The book of Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME FEAR
In order to outlive the fear of death, we must always be conscious of our thinking. Our thoughts are the deciding factors that control how we overcome fear. Therefore, we must always practice the law of attraction in our daily lives. According to Les Brown, “Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fear.” Overcoming your fears can be tough, yet easy if you play by the rules. Here’s a question to ponder on: what do you think you can accomplish if you had no fear in you? If you are able to answer this, then there is fear in you that needs to be dealt with. The question now is, how do you overcome this fear? You can only solve a problem if you know the cause of the problem. Meaning, your ability to identifying the cause of the problem.
Ways we can overcome fear are:
Create Awareness: Before you can overcome your fear, you must acknowledge the fact that you have it in you. Admit that it is causing havoc in your life. You don’t solve a problem by running away from it, you have to own it and devise or improvise means of solving it.
Identify: You must acknowledge the fact that you have fears in your life. Isn’t it true that identification of a problem is 50% solved? How true it this? What are you really scared of? Observe your inner self and know what’s actually scaring you about any situation. Be advised, if you don’t do what scares you, you won’t overcome what’s ahead of you.
Take Action: When you realize you have fear in you, decide to take action and deal with the frightening thoughts. Do those things that scare you. Our minds and imagination are so powerful. For example, if you are scared of public speaking, you can take action by speaking to your friends in a social gathering or community. You might be surprised how amazing you will perform when you get the feedback. At creation we were not given the mindset of fear; we are overcomers. According to the book of life in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Be Curious: Another great way of confronting your fear is by daring to succeed. You can deal with this situation by confronting the situation. Have the mindset of a scientist, take risks because the fear of taking risk is the risk itself. As advised earlier on, you can’t solve a problem by running away from it, confront it.
Speak positively: This is one of the most effective tools you can use to overcome fear in your life. There is power in spoken words. Yes, there is power in words. Even the book of life said in Matthew 15:11, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Speak into your life. You have to own your world. Permit me to give a true life story about how this point made a huge difference in my life. When I was studying taxation law as a graduate student at New York Law School, it felt like a thorn in my flesh, but I’m glad I’m now passionate about it and working in a reputable tax company. During the summer of my last semester in the program, a friend of mine called me from Princeton University and said, “Henry, assume your exam is tomorrow, how do you feel about it?” I took a deep breath and said to myself, “this lady attends one of the best universities in the world” and replied to her, “I think, the least I will score is a B+ or an A-.” However, I scored a 3.5 G.P.A that semester for the exact same grade (B+ and A-) for the two classes I enrolled in. The irony of it was that I do know the best I would have had is a D or C, but the power of spoken word really did some magic. I was even awarded a scholarship of $3000 by my dean because I took those classes despite her discouragement. As a Nigerian Igbo guy, I believed that “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” ― Napoléon Bonaparte.
Using spiritual words to overcome fear: It’s a fact in life, there are many ways to kill a rat, just like there are many ways to talk to a lady to like you. This is because ladies are all different, so you have to know what works for each and every one of them. For more information on this, please read my blog on The Little Things of Life where I discuss the five love languages. I strongly believe using the words of God can go a long way and make a difference in your life if you have faith.
The following bible quotations can help us live above our fears:
Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you”
Psalm 118:16 “The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do unto me“
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Finally, it should be noted in order to reach the next stage of your life, you must decide today to confront that fear holding you back by kicking it out of your life.
Let’s live well and succeed, as my good friend Marilyn Oma Anoma will always say.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York and works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of Design Your Destiny- Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.