3 Painful Jabs From Life That Showed Me Fear is Only as Big as We Treat It In Our Head
If you don’t leave your comfort zone, life will force you to do it anyway because no outstanding achievements happen by playing it safe.
No one regrets putting in their best effort. We only wish we had started sooner to secure more wiggle room for making mistakes early and moving on quickly.
On August 15, I started a 100-day creativity challenge where I posted at least one thought on Twitter daily.
I finally published my first ebook on day 100, i.e. November 22, which was supposed to release two years ago.
What led to the ultra-extended delay?
Here is what you can learn from my similar experiences about facing your fears instead of running from them.
#1. Courage is not optional.
I published my first blog in 2018 because creating it for an online course was compulsory. I had to do it for my career.
My anxiety was off the charts. My fingers and brain were sweating and trembling more rigorously than they are now.
But when I hit the publish button, the rest became history. Four years later, I’ve published 350+ articles since my first rendezvous on Medium.
I had to muster up so much courage to release the first blog that, out of surprise, my first article was still one of my most popular, even when I had laughable editing and writing skills.
Courage and risk come as a packaged deal. Being courageous means you must be willing to risk looking stupid before bringing the storm to inspire everyone with unreal feats.
#2. Fear is a defence mechanism.
Running from fear means running from ourselves. Only death will give the sweet release if we treat our mind as our prison.
But when you understand that fear is our brain’s way of telling us, “Something doesn’t feel right, you better figure it out with or without help, or I’ll scream so loud you’ll drown in anxiety,” it will nudge you to explore new ways to find your way through.
The first blog I published in 2018 was after one month of procrastination. My first ebook got delayed by almost two years. My first YouTube video has been delayed by a month and is now scheduled for release on November 30 after procrastinating like a king.
The previous three sentences are the three painful jabs I mentioned in the title of this article.
Fear is our mind’s way of reacting to unfamiliar situations because of its evolutionary roots. It’s a defence mechanism designed to keep us safe.
Since the survival of our ancestors depended on escaping predators, our brain, by default, prioritises safety over happiness.
In an unfamiliar situation, your brain deploys several defence mechanisms to keep you in your comfort zone, which includes procrastination, rationalisation, and fight-or-flight mode, to name a few.
#3. The journey is the end goal.
My first fitness freak was an accidental one. I started sharing Instagram stories every day I hit the gym.
When I reached day 100 in October 2019, the fire inspiration motivated me to write another blog on Medium, which, again, I didn’t want to publish out of fear of judgement.
Still, it ended up getting curated and became one of my viral articles despite poor editing skills.
Since my first fitness streak, I have completed three more 100-day challenges.
The second challenge was a writing challenge when the first nationwide lockdown began in the nascent Covid-era. The third challenge was a self-guided fitness challenge I finished this year. The fourth one is the creativity challenge on Twitter, which I finished today.
I am starting the next 100-day challenge day about vlogging on December 1, and the lesson that I have learned in three years of completing four streak centuries is:
“If the process doesn’t bring your joy, the goal won’t either. The journey is the end goal because it shows your evolution of self.”
Fear is an integral part of our personality that unconsciously guides our actions more frequently than we are willing to admit.
But when it goes out of line by giving us chronic anxiety by keeping us forever in our comfort zone, it is a clear sign to get fed up, get out of our own heads and start embracing an overdue change for good.
Action brings satisfaction. Inaction breeds anxiety. Take it from me, who has procrastinated for an entire month to release his first YouTube video. I am launching on YouTube on November 30. One more week of procrastination left, lol.
Here is a recap for your memory:
- Courage is not optional, but it’s your deadly weapon to convert obstacles into opportunities.
- Fear is a defence mechanism which leads to complacency and makes your mind your prisoner if left unchecked. Getting out of your head will be the most challenging and rewarding gift you’ll give to yourself.
- The journey is the end goal. To enjoy the destination with 10x more orgasms, start enjoying the process and let the delayed gratification reward you more than you deserve.
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Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students in solving their doubts or busy writing, he’s sweating either in a workout, vlogging, or petting his cat, Jim. He’s also putting fire on Instagram and Twitter.