Today I wanted to talk about confidence and how to overcome our fears and doubts.
Success is all about confidence, “It is easy to say, because you are confident” I hear a lot. The answer is I’m not, I’m like everyone else with doubts, questions, insecurities, and fear. Lots of fear, but I prioritize them, I prioritize what is important and constructive, and what is not helpful, has no validity and no value. That helps me put things into perspective and check if my fears are well founded or just something I can easily brush off. Confidence is learned, not given. Let’s put it in a context now.
Imagine you are at home alone or with your kids, and you think there is an intruder in your house. What is your first reaction? Do you hide under the bed, under the cover, or perhaps you lock yourself in a closet or try to escape through the back door if you have any, jump off the window if you are close to the ground. Ok these are all well figured flight or fight responses humans have developed throughout the evolution. So in any of this situation what would be your second response? You probably would evaluate the situation once your immediate safety is more or less provided, be it under the cover, or you jumped off the window. You perhaps would double check if there is really an intruder in your house, so maybe you call the police, or perhaps you decide to take your own action and arm with a baseball bat and go to see what is happening out there in the other corner of your house. You turn on the lights, clench your muscles to be ready to fight off whatever is expecting you out there.
So these are all available safeguarding steps you can take to face your fear, you either fight or you flee, such is our human survival, such is the survival instinct of every being on the planet because if you leave it unattended for too long, it can be devastating or complicated for your safety. You must face the situation either way.
In life it is exactly the same. In these modern days we do not fight bears, we do not fight a large mammoth to hunt, or we do not run from a sabre-toothed tiger to save our lives. The enemy is pretty much internal. The monsters we need to deal with have become internalised in the form of our cultural, family and social backgrounds. Throw into the pile our own personalities, childhood traumas (who hasn’t have them really..?) and you get the whole package of monsters and ghosts from a nightmare.
However, our response to the threats which can undermine our physical or mental safety remains the same. The fight or flight may take a different form, but the concept hasn’t evolved that much from the caveman times. So how do we adopt it to the modern-day challenges? Well, here are few steps I take, this is my process of dealing with my fears:
Fear #1 “What will people think/say?”
Well absolutely anything and everything. This is why people have brains, mouth, ears, to think and say. Based on their own perspectives, own knowledge, skills, and experiences, but what is the added value for you in it? Will you solve your problem if you base your actions to accommodate what people think or say? If it does, if your monster can be defeated by that, by all means, listen to what people say, or consider what they think. But if it does not, then you still have the monster or the intruder to deal with, and you can no longer hide under the bed or be locked outside of your house.
Fear #2 My situation will not allow it.
Ok, fair enough, but what exactly is your situation? Which aspects of it will not allow you to overcome your monster? If you truly and honestly evaluate your situation and see the aspects which need to be fixed, which then can enable you to allow it, this will become your tool to overcome your monster. The truth is everyone has a situation of some sort. Financial situation, health situation, family situation, you name them, and they fall under your feet in abundance. I had my whole 10 seasons of tv series worth situations. And believe me those situations will never help to solve the situation. You help it, only you can solve that situation. And using those lists as an excuse again and again didn’t help me like at all to get out of them. If one thing they did, it was to drag me down deeper into those situations.
Fear #3 I have no funds or resources to fix this.
I know, it really sucks when you don’t have money, it feels scary to think about not being able to meet the ends. It feels intimidating to see all those rich people flaunting their expensive wealth and behave like total arses and you truly believe those people are ‘chosen’, God’s luckiest creatures on earth. And the sun and the moon rise up their eyeballs (putting it in nice words). If you truly believe that this is the truth, that unless some miracle happens and you dug out a hidden chest filled with gold coins mixed with human flesh somewhere in your garden, you will never see more than a dime in your pocket, then you are in deep shit to climb out.
Well, I don’t believe in miracles, at least not the types which say the water turns into wine and you can turn your house into a castle with a magic wand… Here is the thing: Money is a made-up thing, repeat after me: MONEY IS A MADE-UP THING! Anyone and everyone can have it. You just need to do a bit of thinking and lots of working for it.
All the people who are self-made rich, successful, and ‘lucky’ have done it, and so can you. You just need a good planning of what you can and cannot do. Ok, a fair point to consider: This one can be tricky based on your location. Harsh, but true. I work a lot with people whose physical liberties are limited, or people who live in completely devastated and impoverished economies with no infrastructure, not much possibility of livelihoods. But all in all, money is the means to the end, in other words, you need money to be able to get certain things done, have, improve, etc. And it might seem so, but it still is not a holy grail, if other people managed to get it, so can you. But you need to put things into perspective, and identify the ways how you can get money (with good, honourable and honest ways, not the criminal ways, duh) so by evaluating your own resources and intellectual assets you can get the money too. Increase your income. Always remember, working hard is not embarrassing, owing too much money or being held back by the lack of it, is much harder dilemma. Because we only live once and if there is a chance to improve it, we should give our all to make it work, make it a success. It will not be easy or instant, but hard work and investing in your mental and intellectual assets will always, always pay off in one or the other way.
So, come up with a short term and a long-term income generating plan. Maybe what you really want is to become an astronomer, but there is no way to get the right education without enough funds. Well set up a timeline and always be ready to review and adjust it, and work and do things which you don’t want to do for long term. The path to your dreams is not always straightforward, you may get off the course, but if this is what you really want, you will get back to your path again. And everything you learn along down the line will give you the tools to shorten the journey to your dream.
Fear #4 I’m too old…
This I hear often about pursuing a change in career or acquiring new skills or education. Well you are still breathing, right? And you are still thinking and yearning about a change in your situation, let it be career related, or something else. It is your life and you probably heard it before, but here is the news for you in case you haven’t. You only live once! With each breath you take, the clock is ticking. Doesn’t matter if you are still you in your twenties, fifties or sixties, you should start changing your situation. You may have ten, twenty or fifty years ahead of you. If you are forty something, ok change may not happen as fast as it was happening when you were twenty, but in grand scheme of things, it still happens. You might learn slower, you might have less time, but you still can do it. Ask it from those refugee women who never crossed the border of their villages their entire lives, and they had to rescue their children and run for their lives… In fact, the change is the only constant in this universe and any stability you think you have is an illusion. Your uncomfortable comfort will not be able to stop the clock. Of course, by all means, reassess that, some of us are just happy with that steady, slightly boring routine, and complain because there isn’t real and fast threat to knock us out of that comfort zone. If this is you, then it is absolutely fine to carry on. There is no judgement or extra suggestion to make you change anything in your life. This blog post is for those who really want to change something unsatisfactory in their lives and need some motivation.
So, it’s up to you to ride that ship- your life. Either you do it, or someone else will do it for you and you may not like the ride, because it might be too bumpy, or you get nauseated. If you are stuck at unhappy marriage, jobs, small spaces and generally in a rut, then now is the time for you to act, not tomorrow, not yesterday. It is now! You take a deep breath and say to yourself: “I want to be happy again”, I want to be … again. Up to you to fill in the blank and say whatever it is you want to achieve. Remember! The change doesn’t happen in a comfortable, boring, repetitive course of life. Not to get too philosophical but remember the good old big bang theory?! The entire world has come to existence under a huge explosion and lots of hell broke loose in uncomfortable chain of events…
Fear #5 I don’t know where to start…
Well, how about you start at the very beginning! Start changing one thing, your process of thinking! Replace all the can’ts and don’ts with cans and dos. Start slowly if it is more comfortable, but start it, do not delay it any longer, you can even contact me if you want to start growing your mind and changing your perception again. Listen to the loud ticking of the clock! Your ultimate judge!