The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Doubt, Fear and Being Afraid
I’m constantly in doubt about pretty much everything.
Whether I should even have started writing this book right here.
It took me 10 minutes to fight my doubts until I finally started writing this piece right here.
Doubt is constantly following me wherever I go.
Doubt paralyses. Doubt kills. And it eats you alive.
Doubt and fear are best friends.
And together they’ve ruined many great parties.
Many great people.
Many great lives.
And many great ideas.
We all have doubts.
We’re all are afraid of things.
Sometimes more. Sometimes less.
And it’s pretty much impossible to fight it.
You’ll never be able to win.
The only thing you can do is to live with it.
Or dance with it.
But I’m not going to leave you with these empty shells of advice.
Because it’s useless.
If overcoming doubt and fear was so easy then we would all already be building spaceships and living our dreams.
The truth is that there are just a few things that are harder to overcome than doubt and fear.
And what’s also true is that I can’t really tell you what’s going to help you to fight your fears and doubts.
Because I’m not you and you’re not me.
But what I can do is to share what I do.
What works for me.
The things I do whenever fear and doubt start punching me in the face.
Whether that doubt and fear is intrinsic or extrinsic…
I know I’ll be dead at one point. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. No one knows.
And this scares the shit out of me.
No matter how scared, afraid or in doubt I am about something, the fear of being dead and not being able to change anything about it will always be bigger.
And this somehow pushes me in a very weird way.
Knowing and really understanding that I’ll be gone sooner or later helps me to put things into perspective.
That no matter what I do, that no matter how much I embarrass myself in front of others, that no matter how scared I am about something, the worst case scenario is going to punch me in the face. No matter what…
So I constantly feel like I have nothing to lose. Because I’ve basically already lost. We all have already lost. It’s just that most people haven’t really realized it yet.
And they live their lives as if they’ll live forever. Postponing all the things they want to do. All the things they want to see. And all the things they want to say.
Until they realize that it’s too late for all those things to do. For all those things to see. And all those things to say…
And this helps me to overcome all of my fears and all of my doubts in a weird kind of way.
Here’s something someone a lot smarter than me once said…
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
# GIVING A SHIT
It’s hard to do stuff. To create things. To put yourself out there. And to do the things that everybody else is afraid of doing. Even just to say things that everybody else is afraid of saying takes a hell lot of courage.
And you’re going to get heat for that. A lot of heat. And people will turn their backs on you. No one will take your serious. People will laugh at you. No matter what it is you’re doing or trying to do.
Because people are afraid. People are afraid just like you are afraid. Everybody is constantly living in doubt. And in fear. Everybody is constantly in doubt about their life choices. Whether or not they’ve done the right thing. Whether or not it was the right choice.
So everybody is busy fighting their own fears. Fighting their own doubts. So people will consciously or unconsciously try to keep you down. They will try to keep you down so that they can stop doubting their own paths. Even if it’s just for a few seconds…
And you know what?
You should focus on your own fears and doubts. And not on everybody else’s. Don’t let other people’s insecurities interfere with your insecurities. Don’t let their insecurities about their own choices influence your own choices.
I stopped giving a shit a long time ago about what people think about me, the things I do, the things I want to do and what I want to stand for.
And instead I started focusing on the people who focus on the same things. It’s been one of the best decisions in my entire life…
Whenever I’m in doubt about doing something I imagine my 80 year old self sitting on a veranda and reflecting about my life. The things I did and the things I didn’t do.
And whenever I imagine my 80 year old self asking himself what would life have been like if I did this or that, I just do it. And I try everything I can to make it work. No matter the consequences. No matter if I fail at it or succeed at it.
So when it comes to the important things and decisions in life I sort of live life backwards. And I consult my 80 year old self. Because my 80 year old self is the only person who’s going to judge me when my time has come.
My 80 year old self is the only person I want to make happy. Because that’s the only person that will ever be able to help me to make other people happy. That’s the only person I don’t want to disappoint. Ever…
# WORST CASE SCENARIO
What’s your realistic worst case scenario?
Other than you’re going to die. Which you will eventually anyway…
What’s the worst thing that could happen to you if you do this or do that?
Do you have friends or family?
Turns out that most of us have either one of them or both.
And that’s really all you need to get back up again.
In case you ever get knocked out, which is very rarely the case by the way.
Our worst case scenarios are never really as bad as we imagine them to be.
Sure,maybe to some extent.
Whatever your worst case scenario is, we all have either one or both of these people in our lives to help us get back up again once we’ve been knocked out.
Ask for help. Accept their help. No one can do this alone…
It’s hard to fail. Making mistakes is hard.
But it’s the only way to learn.
You don’t learn anything new when everything goes right.
When everything goes according to plan.
The only thing you learn is that you were right.
Even though you might maybe just have been lucky.
So the only thing you learn when everything goes right and according to plan is that you were right.
And that’s already about it.
And that’s not a whole lot of new things to learn.
Sure, you should try everything you can to not fail.
You should try everything you can to succeed.
Because failure is painful. And horrible. And one of the worst things out there.
That’s why many people don’t get back up again.
They don’t see the lessons.
They don’t see that it will make them stronger after it made them weak for a very long time.
It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you keep your eyes closed the whole time…
# EVERYTHING IMPORTANT TAKES TIME
Whatever it is that you want to build, create or do, it will probably take a lot of time until it works out. Maybe it will never work out…
That relationship. That business. Creating your art. Everything will take time. A hell lot of time.
Everything will take a lot longer than you’d initially thought it would. Sometimes I wonder if I had started all of this if I knew how long it would take me. How much energy and time I’d have to put in.
Thinking about it, if I knew how much work every business, every relationship, every book, every blog post and pretty much everything else would take me, then I would probably never have started anything…
# DECISIONS ARE TEMPORARY
Every decision leads to another decision. And nothing really lasts forever.
Whenever you decide to do something and then do it, you’ll automatically get exposed to countless of other opportunities and new decisions you’d have to make.
And these opportunities and things are usually things you would never have thought possible when you took that first decision..
Perfectionism will only hold you back from doing new things. From creating new things. From experimenting. From finding out who you really are. Perfectionism is the number one source of doubt. And fear. Ok, I totally made that up. But it could be true…
# THE RIGHT THING
You’ll never know what’s the right thing to do. You’ll never know whether this one thing is better than the other thing unless you do it. That’s why the only way to overcome your doubts and your fears is to do it….
P.S. This was a part of my new book The Underdogs Guide To Winning When You’ve Failed At Almost Everything. It’s available for pre-order for pay-as-much-as-you-want. You can grab your copy here: https://gum.co/XHyRD
Originally published at yanngirard.typepad.com.