The emotion of fear defines what we make and break in our life. Fear has a very impactful role in everything that we do. There are also multiple different perceptions about the fear around us. Few indulge ‘fearlessness’ as their strong suit in the desire to win. Fear is a shame for some. And for many fear is one of that devil that constantly stopping them to act. And some believe fear is the sign of the weakness.
My experiments with “fear” are going since I was 6 years old. I was born in poverty and lived in a shady neighborhood. One thing my parents kept reminding me, again and again, was to be mindful of every act as ‘failure’ was not an option or alternative for us in study, survival, and everything that we decide to do. For example, it was very expensive for my parents to pay for my education hence they made it clear if I failed in the exam that’s the end of my education. At that time. I couldn’t imagine what life looks like if someone studied well but it was very clear to me what kind of life I’ll have if I don’t. In that neighborhood, there were hundreds of uneducated adult and kids and I grew up watching their lives. I was not fascinated by victory or success but more afraid of failure at that time. And that fear is still my fuel to work hard, practice hard and not to fail hence contrary to popular belief, I don’t embrace the fearfulness instead I indulge fear as my fire to be perfect in my craft. My fear also reminds me that I am working on the most challenging goal or assignment.
There are many things that motivate us. But the most powerful motivator of all is FEAR. I tell my team at Multidots in a funny way that “If it doesn’t scare you at the first then we are not doing it“. I also learned and experienced the bright side of the fear that changes the way I perceive the fear.
Fear is not a characteristic it’s a survival mechanism 🚑
Whether we want it or not, fear is fitted in every living creature. The primal function of fear is to invoke the flight or fight syndrome. We are all hardwired with fear as a survival mechanism. Imagine, it is one of those long days where you are so tired and lying on the bed. Someone asked and offered you to go out and have some fun. Your most likely response will be no as you realize you don’t have enough energy in the body as mentally and physically you are exhausted. Now, suddenly you hear someone shouting “Fire! There is a fire in the house!!”. No matter if you are very sick, tired or feeling lazy. The fear triggers our survival hormones to act. In such situations, the tremendous amount of vigors flows through our body. Effortlessly, an abrupt reaction comes out as a response to the danger. Either you will try to escape or will try to stop the fire engulfing all your valuables. That’s that fear that actually pushes us or trigger us to do something to fight and survive.
Fear heightens our senses and awareness; it keeps you alert and helps in better preparations. Fear and risk are vital components of personal and business development. But nowadays, we suppress our desire and dreams with the worry of those fears. If we survive a bad experience, we never forget how to avoid it in the future. The function of the fear is to activate those hormones to start preparing, planning and practicing to survive.
Fear and their cousins 👶🏻
Fear is not alone in this community of emotions. It also has some of its siblings and often misunderstood. We should not worry about fear instead we should embrace it but all other emotions that develop around fear are the one that we have to be careful with.
Allison Kinnear is a wonderful woman that I met during WordCamp Seattle in 2018. She is real motivation and helps people who struggle with their confidence and are on the verge of burning out. We were having an intense conversation about the fear and I was sharing my experiments about the fear with her. She agreed with me that fear is good and must have but there are other things like worry, inner critic, imposter syndrome that we should learn to deal with as they are the one who stops our growth, makes us depressed and weak, make us feel that we are not good for anything and make us alone. It was so great to listen to her talk on “Imposter Syndrom” and this were my key takeaways from that talk.
- Inner Critic – Our inner critic is the one who constantly pulls us down and makes us feel that we are good for nothing. Our inner critic is that negative voice that comes out every time we want to do something and it tries super hard to stop us. And she advised naming this inner critic and I named it “Darth Sidious” (The Dark Devil in the Star Wars). Every time that negative voice comes up to stop you or demotivate you think of it as this character, it will help to deal with it.
- Inner Contender – Tha positive voice which motivates us to fight with our negative thoughts and emotions is the inner contender. We should name our “Inner Contender” and should build swags around it. I named it “Master Yoda” (The Legendary Jedi Master in Star Wars) which reminds me of positivity and motivation.
The fear is the sign for the treasure that you seek 🏆
Fear is very obvious when you are trying to do something for the very first time. Something beyond your comfort zone. Something that has a high risk. In short, fear happens to most when we are planning to do something significant. Giving a presentation to your boss, Speaking in an event for the first time (or 10th time), proposing a girl/boy that you liked so much and afraid if she/he will turn down your proposal. The fear is the first sign that tells us that what we are going to do is not merely an ordinary thing it has a significant importance in our life hence we should feel proud and motivated that we are doing something beyond our comfort zone and the results and rewards of accomplishment of such tasks are very motivating.
Look back and see, all those things that you were afraid of like walking for the first time, riding a bike, driving a car, speaking in public, all of them were started with fear but now as we have mastered them, they are very easy for us. And by mastering that fear we ended up acquiring the amazing skills. Fear to do something for the first time = opportunity to acquire a new skill.
“The cave that you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek “Joseph Campbell
Fear can be conquered with practice & preparations 🤹
Remember those days when you were quite young watching all the kids of your age or older riding bikes so confidently and you couldn’t. And sever other things like driving a car, cooking, dancing too. It all starts with a fear that I am so bad at this and would never ever be able to do this or learn this. But those who ride bikes, drive cars so confidently what had happened? How did you conquer your fear and be so good at them? The answer is “practice”. You are afraid only and until you try it at first and then train yourself.
I had very bad handwriting in school. My teacher told me that if I didn’t improve my handwriting, I would surely fail in the exam. She explained “There are three types of handwriting. One, you write and others can read. Two, you write and only you can read, and Three, you write and only God can read.” My handwriting was type three 🙂 I was so afraid to share my books to anyone because of the bad handwritings people were laughing at me and making fun of me in the school. I was studying very hard and scoring great on subjects such as Maths but other subjects which require a lot of writing exams were gross.
I understood handwriting is not the characteristic it’s a skill. So I decided to practice on my writing styles. I asked my different friends in school to review their books for handwriting. I observed the mistakes that I was making and started to practice improving my writing style. It took a few months to finally make it better. I was happy as result. I kept practicing and didn’t stop until I won the first prize in best handwriting competition in my town 🙂
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many celebrities, sports stars, and world leaders also don’t proclaim “fearless” but they embrace their fear to “work hard and prepare not to fail“. Their response to their fear leads them to be successful. My favorite is the “King of the Bollywood” Mr. Shahrakh Khan. Listen, how “fear to fail” helped him succeeding and excelling in his art and made him the legendary artist and actor that we all admire today.
If the Darth Sidious (your inner critic) tells you that you are weak and so fearful, listen to the Yoda who says it’s okay fear at first which means you are doing something significant, something worth your time and attention. Embrace your fear as that will keep you alive and attentive. Fuel your fear to work hard. Remind yourself what failure looks like that will push you to work hard, practice like a pro, and prepare well and you will transform yourself into a performance and perfection machine.
Either you play to win or not to lose. If you play not to fail as you are afraid of failure then naturally you will be more aware, attentive and alive.Anil Gupta
Please let me know what do you think about the fear? Is it your motivation to work hard or you are just afraid of it? How do you deal with your fear in day to day life?