Get out a sheet of paper, turn it sideways, and draw four vertical columns. At the top of the first one, write, “I’m Afraid Of…”. Leave the other three empty.
Then, take a few minutes and list your biggest fears. I’m not talking about nuclear disaster, getting hit by cars, becoming engulfed by Sharknadoes, or the like. Let’s keep this to real stuff that you want to do but have been too afraid.
For example, maybe it’s starting your own business. Maybe you have a boss and haven’t wanted to speak up during meetings. Perhaps you have wanted to travel, but are afraid you will lose your passport, get robbed, and have no way home.
No matter what it is, write down at least 5-10 fears.
Now in the second column, write at the top: “What Could Happen?” Then, write down what you’re afraid of happening. Losing your job. Your spouse leaving you. And so forth. Don’t be afraid to search your mind for the biggest fear you have surrounding that action.
Now in the third column, write down, “What Will Realistically Happen?” If you were to speak up during that meeting, are you realistically going to lose your job? Or realistically, are people maybe going to say something a little insulting and move on?
If you walk across the room to talk to that stranger, are they realistically going to throw a drink in your face and slap and scream at you? 9 times out of 10, the answers in this column, if you approach it the right way, will be far less scary than what’s happening in column 2.
Now finally, in Column 4, write this: “Level of Future Regret?”
This one is a little tougher. Think about your life a year from now. 5 years. 10 years.
Picture yourself near the end of your life. You were too afraid to do that thing several years ago; how do you feel about it now? Does it seem like you weren’t being true to yourself, and that you were simply reacting to a series of impulses that could have simply been overcome?
Now come back to the moment, and write a number. 1 means you won’t regret it at all. 10 means you are going to be miserable for the rest of your life if you don’t take action. Fill out that last column.
Okay. Go down that list and, given the criteria you’ve just filled out, big one of those fears. Maybe it’s the one that you realized has the easiest potential “real” consequences. Maybe it’s the one in Column 4 that got a 10/10. No matter what it is, pick the one that stands out to you the most, and commit to yourself that every day for the next 30 days, you will take one drastic step towards reversing that fear and achieving whatever goal you’ve been unwilling to go after because of it.
In 30 days, come back and look at your list. Look at what you wrote down for all four columns. Have you made progress? Was it nearly as scary as you thought it was going to be? If I had to guess, you’re going to be a heck of a lot further along than you imagined you could be.
Why? Because you’ve started retraining your brain to think towards achieving that goal, rather than avoiding the pain caused by going after it. When you tell your brain that you want to achieve something, it starts to focus differently, and the fear is no longer the focus.
Tried it? Tell us what happened! Comment below.