Few things can derail our lives as quickly as fear of the unknown. Alfred Hitchcock made his living off of this type of fear. In Hitchcock’s movies, the villain or imminent danger is always off the screen where we can’t actually see it for as long as possible. That gives our imaginations time think of all sorts of horrible and terrifying things, which heightens the suspense we feel. This makes for a terrific movie experience, but in real life it’s not so enjoyable. The unknown dangers and unseen pitfalls that lurk ahead of us can create incredible stress and will often cause us to delay or miss out on great opportunities. So, if fear of the unknown has caused you trouble in the past, here are a couple of thoughts that can get you back on track:
Make Friends With Failure
A great portion of your fear of the unknown comes from the fact that you think that not knowing something ahead of time will cause you to fail. You won’t have time to prepare or think it through and you’ll fall flat on your face. We have all been challenged we these types of thoughts. So, will you fail? Of course! Everyone fails. Failure doesn’t have to define you, however. In fact, your response to failures in your life will oftentimes lead to life’s biggest accomplishments. This means that failing at a task isn’t something to be feared but embraced. So, fail! Fail often and fail well. Just remember to get back up when you get knocked down, because another opportunity will be coming your way soon, and it may be the very one that leads to the success you desire.
Make What You Do Know Your Focus
There will always be lots of things that we can’t see ahead of time or predict in life. Most of the important decisions we make will involve some level of uncertainty. With that in mind, you can choose to allow all of the things you can’t foresee to stir around in your brain, cluttering your thoughts and freezing you into inaction, or you can focus on what you do know. In most major decisions you will know some details and most importantly you know what your goals and priorities are. When you make a decision based on your values and direction in life, you can feel good about your choice, even if it doesn’t work out.
Make A Move
When all is said and done there will always be the option to think about things some more (for the 314th time), or an option to act, and sometimes you need to turn your brain off and act. There is a point in every decision when further thought is only slowing down the process and crushing your confidence, in those moments it’s important to take action. I learned this lesson as a teenager, when friends and I would sneak off to jump off of a local bridge into the river. I’m not saying that jumping off the bridge was a great decision (I’m pretty sure now that it wasn’t!), but I know that the longer I stood on the bridge , looking at the water below, the more my fear began to take over. The only thing that could crush my fear was to jump. After the first jump, my brain was no longer locked down in fear, and I could have fun. The same is true of many major decisions. There comes a point when our continued thinking and processing is only adding to the fear we feel, at that point, you need to go with whatever decision you think best and move forward.
These tasks aren’t easy, but they are fear-crushers, and nothing feels better than unloading 100 lbs. of fear off of your back! Good luck as you battle the unknown in your life this week!!!