Fear is a mental obstacle, nothing more. Yet, millions of people suffer from the fear of the unknown for different reasons. This fear can manifest itself in any situation. In fact, this fear is so powerful precisely because it can raise its head at any time and at any place. Fear can result in a person taking thoughtless or harmful actions because of their concerns and worries. Compounding itself, fear of the unknown can cause people to quit things they have begun or even influence people to not begin things that they think they will not be able to complete. Less experiences and less success only feeds this fear further, and in the end, it causes comfort zones to dissolve and become less secure over time.
If you see yourself being impacted in these ways, then you can overcome it by taking the proper action. It is important to know that you are not alone. There are many people around the world who have worked against this fear and now are confident and successful. The first step is learning and understanding how to defeat this phobia. Avoiding the unknown is not the solution. The tried and true solution is to face your fear and dispel it my observation and action.
Understanding the Nature of Fear
Fear is a natural mental phenomenon. This has been with humankind and all animals since time immemorial. Without fear, our ancestors may have died because they rushed into a dark jungle with reckless abandon. Fear has provided us with a mental guard against spiders, snakes and other creatures that may have caused us harm. We have evolved to be attuned to fear, especially fear of the unknown.
We live in a different time and a different world than we did before. The stresses, pains and sufferings that our evolutionary fear of the unknown protected us from is a distant genetic memory. Apart from evolutionary reasons, modern fear is rooted in our past experiences and memories. Negative feedback influences us to avoid certain situations and events. While it is healthy to remove yourself from dangerous situations, we too often decide to avoid benign and safe situations because of this fear. It is important to realize that fear always stems from the past, genetic or otherwise. The key to eradicating fear is to live in the moment, and to not let previous events dictate your present and future life.
Phobias are irrational fears, and it is important to understand the difference between a phobia and a rational fear. For example, there are people who are so afraid of the unknown that they are unwilling to use an elevator because of the fear of being trapped. While this has happened, the chances of an individual being trapped in an elevator during their entire lifespan is slim to nil. Fear of unseen or dangerous animals prevents countless people from entering the ocean or forest. Concerns regarding the way people will react during a speech has prevent numberless people from sharing their views and ideas. These fears are all rooted in ignorance of the real chances that negative events will happen. This fear is multiplied by the media which shows murders, deaths, damage, mayhem and disaster at every turn. The world, the real world, is safe and secure the vast majority of the time.
You can overcome your fear of anything by simply living in the moment. Instead of thinking about the stories, movies and sensationalized news stories of the past year, be mindful of the events as they occur. Start your business with the knowledge that you can take whatever comes to you as it comes. If a roadblock occurs, determine how to manage it at that time. Researching projects that you are panning to take on will prevent many unknown concerns from arising.
If you find that you are supported by visualization, then meditation and establishing a strong mental culture will be helpful. Before you go into a situation that you are unprepared for, take a moment to mentally prepare. One of the most common fears of the unknown is the fear of the interview. Imagine yourself at the interview as though you are perfectly prepared. Practice answering questions that may arise and throw yourself a curve ball question from time to time. This will prepare you and reduce your concerns during your real life interview.
Additionally, you can visualize yourself in the future. If you going on an airplane for the first time and you are concerned about an unsafe landing, then visualize yourself taking off, flying and landing. Think of yourself grabbing your baggage from baggage claim and enjoying your vacation. See the end result of your activities and see yourself being rewarded with positive praise and words of congratulations. This simple task will give your mind positive feedback and make you feel more confident before you even begin.
Perhaps you know that you have something big coming up in the future. It would be beneficial for you to take baby steps to prepare yourself for the project. This works especially well in things such as presentations for work. Make a mock up presentation and show your friends and family your project. It may be beneficial to give the speech as though you were giving it to your coworkers. From there, you can see what needs improvement and if you need any props or note cards. Experience matters when overcoming the fear of the unknown. Practice can be a major benefit. Even the most renowned athletes trained and practiced trained for decades to get where they are.
Give yourself a reward each time you complete a new task. Even a small reward can be beneficial. If you take on a new project or task and compete, then take the day to yourself and read a book that you have been meaning to. Positive rewards to your actions will breed positive behavioral changes. In time, you will find yourself ready and hungry to take on new challenges.