3 Ways to Prevent Fear from Controlling Your Life

fear

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

What do you fear?

Being afraid isn’t the problem. The problem is when you alter decisions out of fear. You rob yourself out of life’s riches. I’m afraid of many things, and I’ll even admit I let some fears change my plans as they come up.

I have a habit of taking late night walks. Along my path, off the sidewalk, is a jogging trail. In the early Summer right before dark, fireflies begin to takeover the area. They’ll flash and dart in and out of the trees. It’s quite peaceful, calming, and pretty; however, just a few minutes after going dark the fireflies stop. Sure the city has lamps that line the trail, but it’s that sudden realization that it’s dark and I’m all alone which gives me chills. I’m actually only a few hundred feet from a residential area at all times, but it’s just the feeling of dread that causes my heartbeat to increase at just the slightest sound of something rustling in the bushes. Maybe it’s a cat or maybe it’s not. I never really know. All I can do is look straight ahead and keep walking back to the sidewalk. Eventually I make it back and then get to contend with the traffic. In all honesty, I’m probably safer on the trail.

Fear
Lemontree Park Jogging Trail, College Station, TX

1) Eyes Forward

I’m often the worst hypocrite when it comes to self improvement because my entries are usually more of a reminder for myself.

Let’s revisit the jogging trail. While I’m fearful on the trail, I’ve learned I just need to focus on the next step. It’s ok if I can’t see the end. I just need to see the next foot. I keep my eyes forward and walk. If I allow myself time to think about my surroundings in detail I’m likely to panic and start running, resulting in a fall. Keep looking ahead, eyes forward, and focus on the next step. It’s a good logic to follow any time you’re in a panic worthy situation.

2) Remember, most things won’t kill you. Mostly.

We’re still on the jogging trail. What if that sound I hear in the bushes behind the trees isn’t a cat. What if it’s a dog, a snake, even another person? While there are stories of bumping into awful things at night, most of the time there’s little to be concerned with. Yes, I could get bitten, but the likelihood is low. I’m not saying you should take unnecessary risks. If there have been reports of a rabid animal or unsavory person in the area, maybe you should avoid it for the time being. What you shouldn’t do is avoid living because you’re afraid of the “what-ifs” What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I fail? Ok. What if you do? Then what? Is life over? Get up. Move on. Learn from it and move on.

3) Run with Scissors

Let’s leave the trail for awhile. Were you ever told to not run with scissors? I was. The rule came from my parents and teachers, and today I tell it to my kids. This goes back to not taking on unnecessary risk. It’s also generally a good idea. But today, I’ll say it’s sometimes good to run with scissors. I especially mean that when we’re fearful to make a change or take the plunge. The plunge being anything out of our comfort zone. The goal is to fail fast and learn from it. Run with those scissors and take some risk. For me, my biggest fear is not making a decision out of fear of the unknown.

You should frequently review your week’s decisions and determine if they were based on sound judgment, or out of fear.

Thoughts? Comment below.

-Thomas
thomas@thomasmiller.me

  • I’m reading this post at the perfect time. Earlier in the week I decided to take on two projects; both of which scares me. By no means am I the kind of person to let the unknown hold me back; however, the decision is a little risky, but I cannot shake the desire to do so- so I am moving forward… 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!

    • We let the littlest things sometimes hold us back when we shouldn’t. Good luck with your projects and thanks for reading and commenting!