How to tame fear and turn it to your advantage

Tommy Baker, author of The New Life Project, believes that you should never put your dreams on hold. In the chapter “Obstacles and Limitations,” he understands what to do if fear prevents you from achieving what you want. Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from it with the permission of the MIF publishing house.


You are holding back all the time. Something happened along the way, because deep down you know you didn’t take the jump. This feeling persists no matter how hard you try to ignore it or drown it out.

They say ignorance is bliss, and sometimes you wish you didn’t feel like you were longing for something more. Then it would be easier to digest the moments of life passing by you. It would be easier not to feel regret coming. It would be easier to avoid what goes on behind the scenes and understand how much time is wasted.

I’m going to challenge you to determine where you haven’t played big. This part of your history can be used as leverage in the pursuit of your dreams. Are you okay. You are not broken or limited by your past, no matter how difficult it may be. You were just detained. Restraining forces affect and keep you at bay when:

  • a powerful insight comes to you, but you are dissuaded from following it;
  • you are ready to make an important decision , but others start playing private detective and find flaws;
  • you are about to step out of your comfort zone, but you are beginning to be pulled back.

In this chapter, we will understand what forces did not allow you to move. We will explore why these forces have come into your life and what they threaten if you give in to them. In addition, we will look at how to use them as leverage. You will learn how to rethink your relationship with them so that they serve you, are used as tools rather than obstacles, become trusted allies rather than enemies. Otherwise, they will still own you and keep your dreams locked up in a box labeled “someday.” The tragedy is that this “someday” may not come.

Fear has taken over your life

Fear. We know this feeling well because we experience it all the time. This is the most powerful and worst of all the negative forces in your life. He is always hiding, he is relentless and strong. Fear will do everything to subdue us.

Fear wants us to feel comfortable, not play big, and keep quiet. Fear loves when we put off our dreams. It is he who makes us wait for tomorrow. What is another day? Yes, “tomorrow” sounds better, plus it’s going to be sunny. And then we’ll start. But tomorrow comes, and fear returns with new evidence of why change should be postponed. The circle closes.

Fear is responsible for most of what you haven’t done up to this point.

  • He turns moments of insight into hazy memories.
  • Deprives you of the emotional, purposeful vision of your life that you have created – and ensures that it remains a fantasy.
  • Prevents you from entering into a conversation with a stranger , depriving you of the opportunity to establish a new contact.
  • Prevents starting a business by requiring you to spend more time on market research.
  • Devalues your recent victories and successes – after all, you could achieve more.

It’s a curse with endless consequences. We often forget about the domino effect of fear: the trivial decision not to do something closes all the doors that we could not even think of. However, fear is not so bad. His power can be used to your advantage. Far worse—or rather, more toxic—is our attitude toward fear. Instead of using its resources, we allow it to crush our hopes, stymie us, and prevent us from moving forward towards our dreams.

Let’s look at the conventional wisdom about fear so that it serves as a compass for you and accelerates the jump into a new life.

Stop trying to eradicate fear

The idea of having no fear was a cool lifestyle brand for a while. However, in our quest to eradicate fear, we lose our power and allow it to consume us. This is reminiscent of the pink elephant thought experiment. When we are told not to think about it – guess what? Yes, we are thinking about it.

I’m sure you imagined just a stunning pink elephant. Constantly trying to get rid of the evolutionary advantage that allowed us to get to the current point of development, we are mistaken.

Anyone who has ever given a speech or spoken in public knows that the “don’t be afraid” mindset only makes things worse. You focus on it, and the fear only grows until it paralyzes you. And even worse: having attached a negative label to this situation, we feel shame for our condition. The cycle repeats until we decide not to do anything at all. And when we do nothing, we feel even worse. Fear closes the vicious circle.

But what if there was a way to let go of fear and use it as a reliable ally?

Release the conditions

Often we act, relying on the following installation: if it is scary, then there is no need to act. Or at least we should slow down, lose all zeal and seek salvation. After all, this is what happens: as soon as fear arises, it takes possession of us and stops us. There is a very conditional way of life. He ensures that we always stay in our comfort zone and don’t dream big and talk our desires out. It starts to affect our daily activities and kills ambition.

It’s time to acknowledge that fear exists for a reason, and that reason is vital to taking the biggest leap of your life and never looking back.

Fear will still remain

The moment you quit your job in a rush of inspiration and close your first business deal, launch a business , find your soul mate, or achieve the success you dream of, fear will disappear forever, right?
No. Be prepared to accept it, because the fear will still remain. Often people believe that they will stop being afraid if they simply achieve the next goal.

But even then, a cruel reality awaits them: fear persists and sometimes paralyzes more than before, if it is not rethought. How would you feel if you sold 12 million books that stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for four years and became one of the top 100 influential people? Shock? For Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote for various publications on more serious topics, Eat, Pray, Love was not just a success. It was a bombshell of success that radically changed her whole life. With this result, another problem arises: how to deal with it. On the crest of a wave, Gilbert realized that her best commercial work was (probably) behind her. Harsh thought. Gilbert was faced with existential questions and was forced to fall down the rabbit hole of research: who she really is. Add fame to fear and you have a recipe for disaster. In fact, success did not relieve Elizabeth of fear, but simply changed it.

Only by realizing that fear is not going anywhere can we truly celebrate the victory.

Moreover, we will not condemn ourselves when, having achieved such a desired goal, we discover a new fear that we could not even imagine. Let me be clear: fear is a great power in your life. It proves that you are rapidly growing above yourself. And if the fear still remains, it’s worth figuring out how to change the attitude towards it and use it as a lever to achieve exponential results.

Reassessment 1: Fear Is Your Compass

Start rethinking fear by looking for it regularly. As soon as you feel it, smile. Get to know him. Feel it in your mind and body. But instead of running away, take a step towards him. And put it into your daily practice. Examples below.

  • The fear of having a difficult conversation with your boss gives you a chance to learn how to handle pressure.
  • The uncertainty of an upcoming business launch becomes the energy to eliminate distractions and use your creativity.
  • The fear you experience when physically pushing yourself provides the necessary feedback to build your confidence both psychologically and physically.

We tend to follow the safe path, even if it does not satisfy us. In this case, fear turns into a reliable compass – with its help, you understand that you are growing and moving in the right direction.

Reassessment 2: Fear Is Your Ally

Once you decide to forge a new path to fear, you begin to develop a trusting relationship with it. You greet him as you would greet a distinguished guest in your home.

That’s how you should feel when you’re on the edge. We distinguish between two types of fear. The first is the will to survive, an immediate response controlled by the brain’s amygdala. The second is emotional fear, which forces you to model the worst-case scenario. Both are parts of you, so building a relationship with these mechanisms will give you confidence.

Now fear becomes your reliable partner, who knows exactly what to do and what not to do. It is unlikely that he will become your best friend, and that’s okay. But it is a reliable ally you can rely on to make decisions and live as boldly as possible.

Reassessment 3: Fear Is a Necessary Condition

Now that you’ve figured out how to use fear as a compass and reliable ally, it’s time to move on to the final part of the rethink.

This is what you have been waiting for, and you will never miss the opportunity to change your life, which was seized by fear.

Everything is simple here: fear is a necessary condition for making bold decisions.

When you feel fear, your comfort zone stretches and you have the opportunity to take a step towards your own growth.

I still remember the first time I invested a lot of money in myself. I had a conversation with my mentor about a coaching program and everything in my head was saying no. And yet, deep down, I felt it was a do-or-die moment.
Although common sense told me to stop, I took a deep breath and said yes. I was shaking with fear because the investment was as much as $25,000. When I got my bank statement, I had $903 left in my account—and I hadn’t even paid my rent yet. And along the way, I have already used most of the funds in my account.

But I still made up my mind. Susan Jeffers, renowned psychologist and author of Fear…But Act, puts it this way: “Overcoming fear is less scary than living with a deep fear born of helplessness.”

That moment changed my life forever, because the investment in the program had nothing to do with it. You might as well just write yourself a check, but I was afraid to find out that finances were the least of my worries.
That’s what really scared me then: to bet on myself and move all my chips to the middle of the table – at the moment when I realized that I completely and shamelessly believed in myself. Because once your dreams are on the line, there’s nowhere left for you to hide.

Tip: run towards fear

Move arrows. From now on, be aware of when you feel fear, and instead of running from it, take a step towards it. If you weren’t afraid, you wouldn’t dream big, bet big, and stretch your comfort zone.

Determine when was the last time you felt fear and therefore did nothing. Write down five consequences of your inaction.

The New Life Project will tell you how to make a bold decision and get rid of the routine, find the confidence in yourself to make all your dreams come true and open the door to a full, dynamic life. It will appeal to those who are ready to learn new things and change.

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