The common belief is that fear is the greatest obstacle to success. I’d like to correct that by saying that “your reaction to fear” is the greatest obstacle to success.
Fear by itself is very useful and at times necessary. Fear has a great message for you. Fear has a subtext to it that says that you are not fully prepared for what’s ahead.
This message is a great one indeed. It’s the starting point for improvement.
Your reaction to fear is what transcends you to the next level.
Do you shrink back or do you get stronger and dwarf the fear?
Here, I recommend 2 approaches to overcome fear, which result in your development. Following each approach depends on your situation when faced with fear.
Approach 1: Divide and Conquer
This approach is helpful when your fear is due to you being overwhelmed by a daunting problem; a problem with some of these qualities:
1. Too big to face
2. You don’t have knowledge or skills to overcome it
3. It’s an uncharted territory. You have no idea how to approach it
The best approach in this case is to break down the POA (Plan Of Action) into tiny steps and deal with each step one at a time, as if that tiny step is the whole problem. Once you have mastered and overcome that little bump in the road, move on to the next.
This approach not only reduces a big problem into tiny pieces so it’s not daunting anymore psychologically, but also makes each step manageable and easy to learn about practically.
Following this approach, you are not overwhelmed with the size of the problem, psychologically. The completion of each step counts as a win, which adds to your self-confidence to solve the problem as a whole.
Approach 2: Cross the Rubicon
This approach is helpful when you have the qualification to solve the problem, but the problem is beyond your comfort zone. In other words, you have never experienced a similar situation. This type of fear is purely psychological and has no basis in your skills and qualifications.
An analogy would be riding a roller coaster or jumping in cold water. In either case, you know for sure that would be safe. Your fear in these cases is purely psychological and the best way to overcome it is to run towards it.
In this approach, of course, you must logically determine whether you have the skills or qualifications to solve the problem or not, before running towards it. Running towards a problem, without skills to solve it would be reckless.
On the other extreme, spending a lot of time for preparation or gaining skills to approach the issue might turn it into an excuse to avoid facing it.
So your assessment of your skills should be very objective. Once that has been determined, just cross the Rubicon. That way you can transcend to a new level and expand your comfort zone.
Not dealing with fears can have a lasting and devastating impact in your life. Nothing is more damaging to your psychological (and even physiological) health than the feeling that you’re a victim and not in control. So no matter what, you must act in face of fear. These 2 approaches laid out the practical ways to take action to overcome and transcend your fears.