Fear is one of the most basic emotions. It originally evolved to protect us from threats in the environment. Fearful people would look at the path ahead, see the danger, and then decide to take an alternative route to avoid it. It helped them survive and pass on their genes.
Today, though, things are different. While we still need some fear, the nature of the threats that we face is different. We are no longer at risk of saber-tooth tigers or mortal threats in general. Instead, our threats are primarily social. We worry what people at work will think about us if we dress a certain way. Or we suddenly feel anxious when we find out that people have discovered our past failures.
The problem is that our brains can’t distinguish very easily between the two. We’re just as likely to feel scared of somebody finding out about our mistakes as we are facing down a ten-foot bear. At a neurological level, it is the same process. We haven’t had enough time to evolve beyond it.
Fear, therefore, isn’t much help in the modern world. Yes – it comes in handy now and then, but fundamentally, it is a relic – a vestige from an earlier time.
The problem is that most of us are carrying around this vestige with us all the time. And it is getting in the way of what we want to achieve.
Fear, for instance, could:
- Stop you from getting the relationship that you want
- Prevent you from stretching yourself to get that promotion you covet
- Convince you that you shouldn’t found a new business
- Stop you from traveling the world
None of those activities is inherently any more dangerous than everyday life. And yet, it is far more than anything else that stops them from happening. We worry about what other people will think of us and how it will make us look. We fear social ostracism as well as having to deal with the fact that we failed to do something that we set out to do.
How To Move Beyond Fear
So what are the solutions?
If you ask a lot of successful people how they overcame their fears, they’ll tell you that they didn’t. Fear, they will say, is just as real a part of their lives now as it ever was in the past. The difference, however, is that they found good reasons to push through their pain. They accepted their fear and then just got on with the necessary task of succeeding regardless.
Other people have tried hypnosis. The idea here is to get the brain to enter a fundamentally different state. Regularly consciousness is blighted with feelings of fear and self-doubt. But people have known for thousands of years that you can switch these feelings off with the right hypnotic techniques.
Fear, therefore, can impede your success in life, but it needn’t. You can push through it with the right techniques and overcome it. Ultimately, moving past fear helps you get what you want out of life.