How To Get Rid Of Fear Once And For All
I wake up each morning and see the world through a lens with me as the protagonist. You feel the same way about yourself. You are the centre of your world. The world revolves around us, regardless of how altruistic, generous and selfless a person we are (or think we are). Everyday is, quite literally, about how we encounter the world. So if you want to get rid of fear once and for all, be the hero you were born to be.
Does the idea of this make you feel squeamish? It shouldn't. It's basic human survival instinct. You're wired to survive and thrive.
But it begs to ask the question, why can't you live the kind of life you want? You're the hero of your own story after all. Does it feel like it's not realistic? Like you won't make any money pursuing what you're passionate about? Like others would judge you if it didn't work out? Call them excuses. Call them reasons. Call them whatever you want. Change can be scary, but it can also be liberating. Resisting change, we hold on. Accepting change, we let go.
I think where most of us fall short of living a life on our own terms is that we're fearful there's an edge. That we'll rocket off the cliff into the jagged rocks below. But as Hunter S Thompson argued, "The edge... there is no way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others – the living – are those who push their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slow down, or did whatever they had to do when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still out there."
How close to the edge have you come? I started skating in my early teens, at a point when I was fearless. I broke my arm in 7th grade and a week later I was sneaking out of the house and grabbing my skateboard stashed in a bush out front. Zero effs given. I still fell, took risks and pushed myself. Like a teenager does, I lived in the Now. I was invincible.
I picked up snowboarding in my early teens as well. That was twenty-plus years ago, so I've observed a few telltale signs of whether someone will be successful in learning. Age is a huge factor. As an adult, you're starting to think of Later more than Now. This is really going to hurt if I fall, I'm screwed for work if I break my leg, I don't know what to do if I'm going too fast. An avalanche of fearful thoughts wipe out your ability to be present. So you close up shop and throw yourself to the ground in a desperate attempt to make it all end.
What makes a gnarly (c'mon, I had to) snowboarder is pushing yourself to carve and dig into the edges, despite the fear. Your legs will violently shake and feel like Jell-O at the bottom of the mountain. I'm usually hunched over, clutching my thighs as the burn feels like my legs have been lit on fire.
Had it not been for the fact that I started at such an early age, the idea of boarding down an 8,000-foot-high mountain seems laughable. It's logical to be fearful of a mountain. Death or serious injury is a real possibility. But being fearful of trying a new career, starting a business or worrying what others think? That shit is all in our head. Our chance of death hovers at zero.
Work life, social life, personal life. It doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing. It's all one life. Dancing on the edge of fear is the literal flow state for life.
If you want to experience that same flow state in the rest of your life, you need to have a willingness to stay in the Now. You need to resist bailing at the first sign shit is getting scary. You need to resist the temptation to take the easy route because it's comfortable. You need to resist the voice that screams what would others think? As Dr. Seuss brilliantly spit, "Those who mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind.”
If you want to leave your footprints on the moon, you are going to fail a lot. Fear will always be present in daring greatly. It's going to feel like hell at times. You're going to want to give up. You're going to face naysayers. People that don't believe. People that look in the mirror, angry at the reflection of a coward. You need to keep pushing, getting back up and living life on your own terms. And remember this above all else, adventures only happen to the adventurous.