"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson stands to be one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the nineteenth century. Chances are, you encountered his work in your high school classroom and perhaps even in a college lecture or two. If you remember nothing else about Emerson, the one thing you should keep in mind is his stance on fear--it gets in the way.
As Emerson suggests, many people succumb to fear before they even get a chance to really start going after what they want. Before they could ever actualize their dreams, fear stopped them from getting into the game in the first place.
So what is there to do? Keep fighting fear? Hope it goes away? Here's an alternative--embrace it. Here are 3 easy ways to do just that.
1. Recognize it
If you want to utilize fear in a positive manner, you must first recognize when you're feeling it, without being ashamed. When we consistently ignore our feelings or pretend that they do not exist, there is not much that you can do to tackle any problem that you refuse to believe is there. Instead, know that being afraid is completely normal for everyone.
2. Accept it and appreciate it
Use fear positively and in moderation and it can actually help you become better at what you want to accomplish. Choose to be afraid of any possible immediate consequences resulting from inability to act, and you may find yourself doing more, at a more productive pace. If appropriated as a self-control mechanism, fear will surely put the necessary fire under your seat to help you overcome obstacles.
3. Do what you're afraid of anyway, but be certain about your decision
"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."
-- Rosa Parks
Turns out science backs up what Rosa Parks always knew. In Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool, Taylor Clark says that our brains have an innate desire for feeling right which stems from feeling certain. Make a decision and you will in turn reduce stubbornness, anxiety, and fearful thoughts in your brain's amygdala.
When we think of fear itself, we perceive it as a wholly uncomfortable and entirely negative thing. However, when we manage it in the most effective and strategic ways, it no longer works against us, but for us.
In a world where you are best friends with fear, all of the things that stress out other people actually work to your benefit instead. Quite the game-changer!