There are two types of people in this world...
- Those who conquer their fears.
- Those who get conquered by them.
There’s a ton of information available about conquering fears and most of it is pretty mediocre. A quick Amazon book search reveals that there is 5,015 books available to buy on the subject of overcoming fear. With that many books, you can guess which group our society falls into.
What most "self-help" professionals don't understand is overcoming fear, self-doubt and blasting through resistance is a muscle you can train to be stronger. Like any muscle, it responds to reps and sets and atrophies when not used. The more time you spend doing, the stronger it becomes. The less time you spend challenging yourself, the weaker it becomes. Or as Nassim Taleb would say, it's "Antifragile".
A few years ago, I challenged myself to overcome my fears regarding success, public speaking, entrepreneurship, interviewing, and asking for what I want. For 30 days, I did just about anything that scared me. This lead to me doing stand-up comedy, reaching out to famous people, competing in a speech contest (I took 2nd), having a 4.5 hour interview with a CEO, getting a promotion and generally looking like a fool the whole time, while learning a lot about myself, enjoying the process and rewiring my brain to respond differently to fear.
This post is a collection of my thoughts on overcoming fear, self-doubt and resistance I while completing the 30 day challenge. I hope 1 or 2 resonate with you.
Here are 23 Ways To Rewire Your Brain To Overcome Fear, Self-Doubt And Resistance:
1. Go On A 30 Day Challenge.
For 30 days, challenge yourself. When you feel fear, do whatever you are afraid to do. You’ll soon discover that most of the things you are scared of are not a big deal. From there you can focus on larger challenges and start going after your big goals.
Just don’t use this as an excuse to start robbing banks.
2. Get Comfortable With The Physical Sensations Of Fear.
Your brain shuts down when your body goes into fight or flight mode. You want to get comfortable with the physical sensations of fear so that you can learn to manage them. Get comfortable with clammy hands, your nervous twitch, your shallow breaths, your increased speed of speech. It’s normal.
3. Separate “You”, From The Sensation Of Fear.
I instead of saying " I'm scared", say "I feel fearful". Give the fear a name. Think about where you feel the sensation happening. This will turn off your fight or flight response and turn on the analytical parts of your brain (pre-frontal cortex). This simple exercise puts you back in the driver's seat.
4. Know That It’s Normal.
You are not alone. Even Bear Grylls experiences fear.
5. Do Something That Gets You Out Of Your Head And Into The Moment.
I went to my first improv comedy class recently. Before it started, the instructor had us sing songs in the middle of a circle of people. At first this was terrifying, then I found myself belting out "Fly me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra, while standing in the middle of 15 strangers.
Silly exercises like this will get you out of your head and into the moment.
6. Enhance Your Self-Image.
Stop replaying your past failures. There’s nothing you can do to change them. Instead recall, your past success and remember what that felt like.
Anytime you catch yourself, recalling past failures, cut it.
7. Do a Series of Small "No risk" Challenges.
8. Stay Away From Alcohol.
Alcohol can quickly turn into a crutch for those looking for liquid courage. How many times have you heard “I need to be drunk to do ….”
This behavior soon becomes a habit and you lose the ability to push through fear in daily life.
9. Breathe Deeply Through Your Nose and Out Through Your Mouth.
When you are scared, your breath becomes rapid and shallow. Train yourself to take deep, strong, breaths. A 3 second inhale with a 2 second hold, followed by a 3 second exhale works wonders.
10. Practice HRV Training.
This will never be popular because it works too well. Implementing this into my daily success habits taught me how to calm my body when I was nervous. Imagine... overcoming nervousness 100X faster and taking 10 years off your meditation practice. Who would believe that?
11. Visualize You Kicking Ass Before The Event.
Remember the times when you were the best version of yourself? Recall these moments and get back into that mental state. If you learn how to do this with enough intensity you can get yourself into peak state before any event.
12. Practice Abundance
Neediness kills all types of attraction. Lose the neediness. Practice abundance.
13. Throw Away Your Self-Image.
Most guys won't approach a woman at a bar because they are afraid of damaging their “James Bond” self-image. It’s a lot easier to talk about how awesome you are, than it is to challenge your self-image.
Throw away your "James Bond" self-image. Being you is better.
14. Let Go Of The Result and Wait To See What Happens.
You can't always control the outcome, so focus on your actions.
15. Baby Step It.
Remember this Bill Murray scene in What about Bob?
“Bob: Baby Steps???
Dr. Marvin: It means setting small reasonable goals for yourself. One day at a time. One Tiny Step at a time”
The Baby Step isn’t just a comedian's take on personal development. It works.
16. Go To Your Happy Place (Use Strategic Relaxation).
In the movie Happy Gilmore, Adam Sandler goes to his happy place before attempting a big putt. He learns this skill and is soon making all of the shots that propel his golf career into stardom.
My happy place is in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I get anxious I visualize myself back there -- the cool wind on my face, my reflection in the water, the snow covered mountains, the silence of nature. What’s yours?
17. Go Into The Theater of Your Mind.
Your nervous system cannot tell the difference in between real and imagined events. Use this to your advantage by creating a mental movie of your success. Sit in a quiet place, watch it, and then watch yourself do it in real life.
For more information about how to do this, check out Dan Kennedy's course in Psycho Cybernetics.
18. Use Mental Rehearsal.
Have a big interview coming up? Walk through the potential questions the interviewer will ask you in your mind. Imagine yourself giving the perfect answer every single time.
Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.
19. Practice Gratitude Daily.
You can’t be scared when you are grateful.
20. Shift Your Philosophy.
Many people think being scared is a good reason NOT to do something. That’s bullshit.
21. Be Intentional.
Know WHY you are pushing through the fear. Understand the reward for doing so and you’ll be motivated.
22. Do It Daily.
Pushing through fear is a habit. You want to keep this skill sharp.
23. Make a Game Out of It.
Games are fun. Fear is not. Turning your fear into a game makes the process fun.
Don't be a self-help junkie. You don't need more theory. You'll learn 300-500 times faster by doing, rather than reading about overcoming fear. You can't out-think fear.
Stand out. Be courageous. And become the type of person who conquers their fears.
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