The Gatekeeper To Your Dreams
About a month and a half ago a dear friend of mine visited my country. We had lunch and talked about a variety of topics, as passionate entrepreneurs do.
But there was this one topic, there was this one piece of advice that he gave to me, that I can’t get out of my head.
Even today, almost 2 months later, I keep thinking about his words, their meaning and how incredibly true they are.
This friend of mine who is passionate about entrepreneurship shares another interest with me, an interest in personal development and becoming the best version.
He often says: ‘’Benjamin, life is all about reaching your highest potential. If you don’t strive to achieve the best you can, then why live it all.’’
In the past, I interpreted these words as encouragement, motivation, and fuel to do even more.
I used these words to do more and push myself even harder, but ultimately I still didn’t understand what he was trying to say.
It was at our last ‘’lunch meeting’’ that I realized what he meant.
It was then that he helped me realize that personal growth is not determined by how much you do.
It is determined by what you do, more importantly, how big of a fear you face.
It took me almost 2 months to grasp what he was saying, but I’m glad I finally did. And I’m going to try and explain the very same thing to you, in this post.
Where Does Our Fear Come From?
Fear is a survival mechanism, developed by nature and evolution.
I think we can all say that this mechanism is due for an upgrade as it more often than not holds us back than helps us get what we’re truly after.
You see we fear the unknown. We fear new experiences, whether it’s as simple meeting new people or as scary as skydiving.
Chances are that if you’ve never done something before, you have no idea what to expect.
And because of the lack of expectations, your mind starts portraying you with the worst case scenario, to try and keep you away from finding out.
Fear helped us survive, it tricked us into staying in the caves when it was dark out and because it did, we didn’t get attacked by a lion.
But that doesn’t apply to our life anymore.
Today, fear prevents us from pursuing our dreams. And I’m sure we can both agree that pursuing dreams and getting killed by a lion are two vastly different things.
But the mind is stuck in the past, if there’s something unknown, the mind will always deploy fear.
In essence, we always fear the unknown.
3 Most Common Fears
Fear is an illusion, it’s an invisible cage that tries to prevent you from finding things out for yourself. As we look at the 3 most common fears, you’ll quickly realize what they all have in common…
They’re all fear of the unknown.
Fear of Taking Action
If you’ve not done that very same task before, you’ll feel the desire to procrastinate.
Because you haven’t done it ever before, you don’t know what to expect. You’re scared of the unknown.
Fear of Being Judged
This fear originates way back when we used to live in tribes. Back then the worst thing that could happen to someone is to get kicked out of the tribe.
If a member got kicked out of a tribe, his chances for survival dropped significantly and because of that, we developed a fear.
By being afraid of being judged, we lower our chances of others judging us, thus lower our chances of getting kicked out of a tribe.
Once again this translates into the fear of the unknown. ‘’What is out there, who is out there and how will I survive all alone?’’
Fear of Not Being Good Enough
The fear of not being good enough originates from the lack of experience.
It’s funny and scary because this is an endless loop, which you can easily get trapped in.
If you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never go out and take the necessary action to get what you desire.
But the thing is that taking the action is necessary to start feeling good about yourself.
Once again, you have to take the step, risk it for the biscuit and step into the unknown.
The BIGGER the Fear, The BIGGER the Growth
Now that we know what fear is and how it keeps us trapped, it’s time to talk about why you would go out there and push through your fear in the first place.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this interesting thought about fear. I can’t remember if I read about it in a book or heard it somewhere…
But I do remember always knowing this…
I remember always thinking and questioning this…
What if conquering fear is what we are all meant to do?
Each and every one of us has different fears, in different areas of life.
That made me think, does it make sense to use fear as a guide map through life?
For example, if someone does not know what they want. Why not simply define what they fear the most and then go conquer it?
The more I act on my fears, the more convinced I am that everything lies on the other side of fear.
The more fears I face, the more I realize that THERE IS NO EASY WAY OUT.
The only way is facing fears, your fears, pushing through them and getting out on the other side.
It’ll be on the other side that you’ll find another piece of the puzzle…
A piece of the puzzle to figuring out who you are and what you want out of line.
Note: One of my favorite TedX talks is a talk on Fear Setting by Tim Ferris. It’s absolutely incredible and I highly recommend watching it.
How To Conquer Fear
Conquering your fears can be done in 2 ways.
- Jumping into the unknown.
- Working up to the fear.
Jumping into the unknown
If you have the willpower to go out and face your fear, look it into the eyes and push through it, go do it.
If you can do that, you’ll receive a virtual high five from me, because I know I’d never be able to do something like that.
With that said, here’s why I prefer option 2.
Working up to the fear
Instead of facing your fear head on and failing at it, try working up to it.
Break it down into small steps and set a deadline.
Then you develop actionable steps which you can take daily to slowly, but surely conquer that fear.
The journey won’t be easy, but you’ll be able to overcome the fear and grow.
You’ll conquer your fear because you’re letting your mind get comfortable with the slight discomfort. This is the best way to get long term, sustainable results.
At the end of the day, that’s what it truly means to be successful in life.
Success is not about having lots of money, high-status friends, nice cars and a luxury lifestyle.
Success is about being able to push through hard things and building up incredible willpower and discipline by doing that.
It’s about learning to enjoy the grind, it’s about learning to enjoy doing hard things.
My Favorite Conquering Fear Quotes
For the end, I’d like to share 5 of my favorite quotes on conquering fear. Write these down and read them when necessary.
“Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind.”
― Jocko Willink
“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.”
― David Goggins
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela
“The key to growth is acknowledging your fear of the unknown and jumping in anyway.”
― Jen Sincero