Overcoming Fears – The Demons that Crawl Through Your Skin
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles – Sun Tzu
I was 18 and on the cusp of joining a high-profile university, it was during that time it beckoned to me that introversion and social anxiety would come in the way of my academic endeavors. For a good part of my life, I had managed to conceal my fear of confronting people – to become invisible – and lurk in the shadows, but not anymore..
I never held contempt for people, I just did not get along with them. I was pampered by my parents to the extent that I had developed poor social skills; contrary to what they had envisioned for their child. I had a pet, a chocolate Labrador by the name of Closer – the amiable thing always followed wherever I went, hence I named her such.
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Born to Lose, Live to Win
I had a very limited friend circle, for I was always afraid of attachments – the very thought of talking to people, confiding in them and listening to their problems shuddered my soul. College was fine, since it was not private. I rarely used to go, preferring to study at home with a teacher. I completed my intermediate with average marks, leaving me with the only option of enrolling in business school.
My teachers however, maintained I was bright albeit different from others. They advised me that the key to success is to socialize and that I talk to people – share things with them – come out of the shell.
Once there, I felt like a person thrown into a cage full of lions. It was too overwhelming an experience for me. I would sense people giving me eyes, taunting me, talking behind my back and whatnot. I was swell with anger but was unable to channel all that in something productive. Looking back, I can safely say it was just my brain playing tricks on me. I spiraled into a state of depression and it showed. Overcoming fear had become the biggest obstacle in my life.
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My teachers however, maintained I was bright albeit different from others. They advised me that the key to success is to socialize and that I talk to people – share things with them – come out of the shell. One teacher in particular, took it upon himself to make me realize my potential. The gentleman propounded on how I needed to get unstuck – for fear paralyzes action.
Taking the first steps are the most difficult and it is often the case that people stumble in the beginnings – it is the will to change your destiny, to make things work in your favor.
From then on, not only did my grades improve, I became one of the most popular students in the varsity. I got along with almost everyone I met and you know what the best part was? I did not even have to try for validation! My change of attitude and outlook on life made others accept me. So, what turned my life and enabled me to overcome my fears? Hearken on.
It is All in your Head – The Will to Conquer All
You know what the difference between greatness and mediocrity is? Great minds are almost exclusively optimistic when hardships come their way. They are patient, they look for answers from an inward source and if that does not work out, they do not hesitate to consult someone who can come to their aid. Such individuals are not shy to try new things – experimenting and reaching a higher state of consciousness.
They are imbued with a concrete will. Have you noticed what the most difficult part of a Monday morning is? It is opening your eyes and putting the alarm off. Taking the first steps are the most difficult and it is often the case that people stumble in the beginnings – it is the will to change your destiny, to make things work in your favor.
I love nature and always look for opportunities to capture its essence. I remember, I did not have the means to get my hands on a camera but God knows, my determination and willpower paid off in the end. I provided home tuitions, worked as a freelance writer and took up other odd jobs to save money.
During my university days, there were a lot of instances when I knew the answer to something the professor asked, but I never raised my hand for the fear of getting ridiculed. Once we were reading about the Fibonacci Sequence and I could see everybody staring at the teacher with blank eyes. I knew all about the sequence, having read about it online.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of someone you idolize – an actor, a musician, a painter – it could be anyone. Watch them exude confidence and assuredness – follow their mannerism and disposition – visualize yourself in their plac
The teacher summoned me and I spent some 30 minutes explaining it to which the students gave me a rousing applause. It was just the motivation and quite frankly, kick in the back side I needed.
Confidence is the key, if you are sure about something, do not hold yourself back – let go of those chains shackling you and unleash your potential for the world to see. And, do not forget, be brave enough to take risks; the harder you fall, the higher you bounce.
Watch a Great Movie or an Orator Talk
Imagine yourself in the shoes of someone you idolize – an actor, a musician, a painter – it could be anyone. Watch them exude confidence and assuredness – follow their mannerism and disposition – visualize yourself in their place. If they can, why can’t you? Do yourself a favor, watch some Ted Talks. Those are some ordinary people sharing extra ordinary tales in the most vivid, eloquent fashion.
I remember, I was always fascinated by how my favorite artists would play live before thousands of people. The bands would not miss a note despite the adrenaline rushing through their systems. I told myself, if they could, I can too. Your self-image is altered by the positive signals you give your brain. Often times, the only way to overcome fear is by moving towards than running away from it.
Write Down your Fears Piece by Piece
Continuing from where I left in the last paragraph, if you truly want to overcome fear and reach to the zenith of your purpose, you need to embrace fear in the first place. During my transformation from an outcast to a popular figure in university, I always kept a notebook with me in which I jotted down my fears and shortcomings.
I would go home everyday and read from the book. I broke down my problems in small parts. When it came to the fear of confronting people, I would stand before a mirror and practice. Similarly, to remove stammering from my speech, I would speak steadily – putting emphasis on every syllable and trust me, it worked!
So, there you have it. There is a lot that happened in between my transformation but my will power to defeat the demons crawling through my skin since childhood were laid to rest, once and for all. Overcoming fear was not easy, but I am glad I made it and I think you would too if you have a strong will power, the capacity to embrace fear and then obliterating it piece by piece.