Fear is the emotion that holds us back from experiencing all that life has to offer. We stop ourselves before we even get started, all because we are afraid. But how can we possibly confront and, ultimately, conquer fear? Surprisingly enough, we can learn how do to it from watching little kids. Read more about how to conquer fear and bring lasting happiness into your life in Mo Gawdat’s Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy.
Many kids cry on the first day of kindergarten. They stomp their feet and scream because they’re afraid. Then, a few hours or days later, they’re okay. They even like it. What’s the magical transformation that takes place? Does kindergarten change to match their expectations? Not at all. Nothing changes. But when they face their fear they realize that playing with other kids all day is not bad after all.
We do this over and over. Some of us fear confronting a bully; some fear making our first presentation; some fear leaving a bad relationship; some fear walking up to a stranger and saying hello. But when we act in spite of our fear, we realize that there is nothing to fear. It’s challenging at first, but once you overcome your fear, you realize it was well worth the effort.
What’s important to remember is that, while you can conquer fear, you cannot avoid fear. Fear will always be in your life. But that is not a bad thing. Fear, as Mo Gawdat tells us, can inspire growth.
I have found that when you evade your fears, they pop up to face you. Like a wise teacher, life will test you, fear by fear, to see if you’re ready to move on to the next lesson. Once you conquer a fear, the test goes away and you never have to face it again. But if you hide, the test—the fear—keeps popping up to haunt you along your path.
Like everyone you know, I refused to admit my fear to anyone, including myself. I pretended I was brave—and I was lying. I feared failure. So I kept pushing myself. Succeeding as a businessman was an answer to my fear. Close a bigger deal, and you’re successful; fail to close the deal, and you’re a failure. I spent most of my time working and was paranoid about making any single mistake.
I kept my fear alive, and so life—the ultimate teacher—took charge and put me through the test. I had to face my fear when once I disagreed royally with one of my managers. The situation came to be beyond repair and I was very close to leaving—or being asked to leave. The pain was all too real. To be out of a job is the ultimate form of the failure that I feared. And that’s when I realized that a change would be good. I chose to walk right into the center of my fear. I found joy in the freedom that my willingness to leave gave me. I knew then that if I lost my job, life would still find a way. So I left, and that’s just what life did. Once my fear vanished, the test vanished along with it. Fast-forward and today I love the work I do. There was nothing to fear.
Push fear out and let positivity in. These mantras will add a positive twist to your life.