Back in the day, there was a huge festival in the Netherlands I always wanted to go to.
So one year, my friends decided to go and I had my chance to join. But I didn’t.
I said it was because I couldn’t afford it. But the real reason was fear.
I was too afraid to go there and meet a bunch of strangers in a place I’ve never been to. I told myself “I’ll go another year instead”.
(Therapists charge thousands for this method to help people take control over fear, but I want to give it to you for free.)
How confident people deal with fear
Here’s how we intuitively react to fear:
When we feel fear, our intuition tells us to avoid whatever causes that fear. The fear works as a stop sign that reads: “This feels bad. Avoid whatever causes this feeling!”
Here’s what fear really is:
Fear is our body’s natural response to uncertainty. But in most cases, uncertainty is actually good.
Uncertainty is what you experience when you do something out of the ordinary – when you grow as a person.
So we think fear is a sign that something bad is about to happen, but it’s actually the opposite – it’s a sign that something GOOD is about to happen!
Fear isn’t a stop sign. It’s a growth sign. I explain this more in detail here.
Later in life, I had a new opportunity: To leave everything behind in Sweden and move to New York City.
This time, I felt several times more afraid than I had felt about that festival in the Netherlands.
But armed with my new mindset; that fear is a growth-sign, I knew that I was on the right path.
Today, I know that moving to NYC was one of the best decisions of my life.
Pancake brunch with friends here in NYC. (Photo by my talented friend Khitam Jabr)
“But David, some things are just TOO scary!”
Exactly! We can’t suddenly start doing the scariest things we can think of.
We CAN start doing what’s just barely scary. Something that’s actually just a bit socially uncomfortable that we have a habit of avoiding.
For some, it’s calling in an order to a pizzeria. To others, it’s asking a stranger about the time or answering an unknown caller.
When you do your barely scary thing, pay attention to your fear and remember:
It’s not a stop sign. It’s a growth sign.
How do your thoughts go when you feel fear? Let me know in the comments!