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Do Not Let Fear Beat You: 6 Ways to Boost Your Courage Right Now

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The most important purpose of fear, which is to help us stay safe, has served humankind faithfully ever since the first people roamed the Earth. It represents our fight-or-flight response to dangerous situations, heightening our awareness and sharpening our senses in moments when it matters the most. This is why, contrary to widespread perception, fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

However, fear can also hold us back and affect our lives negatively. It can hurt our relationships, prevent us from embracing new experiences, and obstruct the opportunities for personal and professional development.

Here are the best 6 ways that can help you boost your courage and prevent fear from taking over your life:

1. Name, understand, and accept your fears 

Facing and fighting your fears is an uphill battle, so don’t try to accomplish it all right away. Putting too much pressure on yourself can be quite counterproductive, so make these powerful words your mantra: Easy does it.

The first steps you must make are to recognize what your fears are, understand why they’re present, and accept them. You need to learn to forgive yourself for not being a “fearless warrior” ready to tackle any stressful situation like there’s nothing to it. After all, no person in this world matches that unrealistic description.

2. Distinguish reasonable from unreasonable fears

As mentioned in the introduction, fear has historically served humans by helping them distinguish situations that represent certain risks from the ones that don’t. It had a crucial role in keeping human lifespan as long as possible, which was quite useful, and still is to this day.

There are many levels of danger our bodies and minds pick up on, from purely physical to more sophisticated existential ones. Any situation that presents a potential risk for our wellbeing is usually a reasonable fear (like fear of heights, wild animals, or getting fired and ending up without the income you need to live). Unreasonable fears, on the other hand, like fear of clowns, birds, or ghosts, can only make your life more difficult instead of making it safer.

Distinguishing reasonable from unreasonable fears is a vital step in getting your fears under control, whether you do it on your own, with a friend, or an experienced professional.

“Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.” – William Congreve

3. Analyze what you can control, avoid, or change

There are many fears you can control by controlling situations when they happen. Our fears can sometimes even suggest the best course of action that fits our needs and preferences. If you’re not comfortable in crowds, speaking in front of large audiences, or spending time with highly competitive people, perhaps you should consider careers and events that don’t put you on the spot.

Although avoiding things and situations that scare you isn’t always the best thing you can do, sometimes it might just be. There’s no need to go against the tide every time you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, fear can be a direction towards a better alternative.

4. Step out of your comfort zone

Although there’s no need to push yourself to overcome every fear you might have, running away from every situation that feels slightly uncomfortable won’t help you get far in life. The goal isn’t to prove your fearlessness, or shelter yourself from any challenging situation altogether. You need to achieve a healthy balance between respecting personal preferences and limitations and supporting your growth and development.

To make sure you’re not passing through life avoiding everything you fear, you must step out of your comfort zone from time to time. It’s best to try getting over smaller fears first, gradually moving towards the ones that represent bigger challenges.

5. Let go of the paralyzing perfectionism

Some fears have nothing to do with our physical wellbeing, but with our values and sense of worthiness. If left unmanaged, such fears can ruin chances of meeting new people, getting the jobs we want, or sharing valuable experiences with the world around us. These fears often arise from the need to do everything perfectly, without making a single mistake along the way.

Perfectionism, the notion that things need to be perfect to be good and worthy, often brings along more bad than good, and it can be a source of various fears that prevent us from becoming who we need to be. Give up the idea of perfect deeds and perfect people. It’s only holding you back.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

6. Embrace uncertainty like an adventurer

There are two ways to perceive uncertainty in life: You can either let it turn into fears that control you, or embrace it as a wonderful aspect of life that lets you live your own adventure. Become your own best friend and give yourself the motivation you need to live each day to the fullest. Nothing can ever replace the love and care you need to provide for yourself.

Fear can make you stronger, more attentive, and resilient, or bring you down and limit the possibilities life has in store for you. Although this choice is entirely up to you, overcoming fear and turning it into a useful trait rather than suffering from its sometimes crippling effects is often easier said than done.

Luckily, there are numerous mechanisms that can help you manage your fear instead of letting it affect your life negatively. Try the proven methods suggested above, bravely step out of your comfort zone, and get ready to experience and enjoy your life to the fullest.

Alice Jones is a full-time essay writing service professional and a part-time blogger. Alice specializes in digital marketing and social media, but she is no stranger to other subjects such as personal branding and self-development. She contributes a lot to an assignment help service.

Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

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Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

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7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

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In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

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5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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