Fear can be a very debilitating emotion. We use it instinctively to keep us from perceived dangers but sometimes exaggerate the feeling and attribute it to situations in which fear should not be an issue. When fear becomes overwhelming it can negatively affect our emotional state, our physical condition, and our psychological well being. Thoughts spiral around themselves and alter our perception, rationality, and comprehension, limiting our expectations, reducing our productivity, augmenting the complexity of problems, and impeding our ability to survive. Understanding the mechanism behind our fears can help overcome them by addressing the nucleus of the problem.

Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is closely related to fear of criticism and fear of rejection and can be greatly incapacitating. Rather than successfully achieving a desired result, those who have a fear of failure imagine themselves unable to achieve a task or reach their goals and thus feel guilty or ashamed of their lack of productivity, often even before initial attempts. Rather than focusing on the possibilities of success, they envision the possibilities of failure. Feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness shift to helplessness, hopelessness, and despair leaving the person discouraged (without the courage) to overcome the mountains they created out of molehills. People who fear failure essentially fear the large shadow that emanates from a small challenge.

To justify their negative perception, people who fear failure will often omit action or engage in ineffective action. Rather than learning from a mistake and improving the action(s) to perform, the failure leads to an abandonment of the mission or goal to achieve.

Fear of Success
Similar to fear of failure, fear of success is related to the fear of living up to one’s capacities and achievements and often leads to self-limitation or self-sabotages. The belief is that success tests one’s limits and makes one vulnerable to new situations with a higher level of responsibility. If one climbs to higher levels, the mistakes have more value and can be more detrimental. One is also forced to live up to a higher potential and must maintain good efforts consistently. In other words, the fear is not of achieving a single goal once but of having to achieve repeatedly and maintaining the higher standard.

People who fear success may undervalue or doubt their own worthiness for success. They may not want to excel because they do not want to stand out from the crowd and thus be observed by others. They fear being judged negatively or disappointing others if they do not meet the higher potential they set up for themselves. This may lead to negative self-talk and the limitation of potential action for “fear is but a dark room where negatives develop” (Usman B. Asif).

Fear of the Unknown
To prosper, succeed and achieve a higher self requires adherence to challenge and change. Such a step asks for one to step away from the known and move towards the unknown with valor and vigor. However, since the unknown presents indefinite outcomes and unfamiliar circumstances, it sometimes shifts away from a sense of safety and security in routine and familiarity. That which is well-known is effortless and undemanding; allowing one to remain sheltered in predictability. Unfortunately, remaining within the limits of what is familiar and refraining from thinking outside the box with inhibit excellence, success

Overcoming one’s Fears
With careful examination of the thoughts and beliefs systems that form one’s fears, one can obtain an objective perspective of the fears and learn to overcome them by becoming desensitized to them. Once a better understanding is achieved, we can more easily and readily summon the necessary strength, courage and confidence needed to overcome them. Recognizing that any outcome of our actions, whether they are successes, failures or non-actions, are all forms of feedback, none of which should be feared. The bigger our fears grow, the further our dreams seem to be.

So, what would you do if you weren't afraid?

Author's Bio: 

Albert Garoli is a proficient health practitioner, medical researcher, and educator. He is a specialist in Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Herbology, Biophysics, and Homotoxicology. Currently, he is teaching in the Italian College of Osteopathy (C.I.O) as well as the Italian School for Oriental Medicine (ScuolaTao), in convention with University Sapienza of Rome. He is also the director of the Holonomics cooperative project. His many years of experience have brought him to a revolutionary understanding of human neurobiology which is clearly explained in his new book: The Evolutionary Glitch.