Your Brain Hates Transformation
This will come as no surprise, but if you are on a path to becoming the greatest version of yourself, you will need to grow.
You will need to expand outside of your comfort zone.
You will have to leave behind old habits and ways of thinking.
And you will need to learn new ideas, embrace new beliefs, and take big, scary actions.
This is all far easier said than done because of one unavoidable thing – fear.
Fear is a mechanism literally created to keep you safe and comfortable. This becomes problematic when your path of becoming your most successful self requires you to constantly strive into unknown territory to create change and progress.
If you never learn the role that fear plays in your growth and success, it can sabotage you at every turn.
But if you can strategically change your relationship with fear, you can use it as fuel for creating more progress and transformation than ever before.
The vast majority of mental and emotional stress that we deal with every day can be traced back to fear.
Whether it’s doubt, unworthiness, not wanting to fail, or not wanting to be judged, the primal sensation of fear tries to hold us back from boldly stepping forward as our strongest, most powerful selves.
The crazy thing is, our brain thinks it is actually doing us a favor by using fear to hold us back.
Back when we were cavemen and women and danger was running around in abundance, this overprotective fear mechanism kept us alive. Back then, however, real threats were prevalent every single day.
Unfortunately, fear is still deeply ingrained in our brains, but the deadly threats that it was designed to help us avoid aren’t really that big of a problem.
The Overprotective Soldier
But like an old soldier who only knows war, fear needs an enemy to protect us from. And since there aren’t many real dangers lurking around the corner, it overreacts to our daily lives in order to serve its purpose.
And the one thing that fear wants to ‘protect’ you from the most is uncertainty.
The brain realizes that new and unfamiliar situations pose the biggest threat, so it will create a slew of sensations (anxiety, doubt, worry, negativity, etc.) in order to dissuade you from doing things with an unknown outcome.
That’s why breaking old patterns and creating new habits is so difficult.
Our brains are trying to protect us by clinging to whatever is most familiar even if that is something that doesn’t serve us and move us toward our goals.
And if growing into a newer, stronger, more capable version of yourself is what you need to do to fulfill your potential and become successful, then fear can be your worst enemy.
Fear Is Sneaky
Fear wants you to stay the same, so it will try to sabotage you from participating in things that can change your way of life.
And the crazy thing is, your brain thinks it’s doing you a favor so you can’t even get mad at it.
But you need to anticipate the resistance you’ll feel whenever you approach the edge of your comfort zone in pursuit of your growth.
Fear can be as subtle as the urge you feel to hit the snooze button when you know you need to get up earlier to increase your productivity.
Or it can be as powerful as paralyzing you from taking action to seize an epic opportunity that could transform your business and your impact.
Whatever form it takes, just anticipate that your overprotective friend fear will show itself whenever you are on the verge of growth and positive change.
Disarming Fear and Moving Forward
Since fear is a deeply ingrained survival mechanism nestled tightly within the human psyche, there is no quick way to get rid of it.
Plus, on the rare occasion, if you have to run for your life or fight a bear, fear will help you get out of a jam.
But you can change your relationship with fear in order to liberate yourself from its oppressive rule.
The first thing you need to do is flex your awareness muscle.
Once you start feeling fear or one of its comrades (doubt, imposter syndrome, judgment, anxiety, etc.) make it your mission to objectively identify it as soon as humanly possible.
Without assigning judgment to yourself or the situation, simply acknowledge that fear is present.
Then (and this may sound crazy), thank it for trying to keep you safe. Fear thinks it is just watching your back, so give a little credit where credit is due and show some appreciation.
Then flex your logic muscle and work through the scenario.
If fear is present, it’s because it detects a threat to your comfort and safety.
If you can then assess the situation and see that there is not a threat to your physical body but really just a threat to your old habits or beliefs, then you know fear is totally overreacting (if there is a pack of wolves, however, fear is totally justified and you need to scram) and you can take action in spite of it.
Momentum and Practice
Here’s the thing. This sequence will feel super awkward at first.
We are raised to firmly obey our brains’ orders, and learning this new behavior pattern will take some effort.
But just like any new skill, the more you practice, the more fluid it becomes.
The more you implement this sequence, the easier it becomes to take bold action in the face of uncertainty.
And when you can do that consistently, you develop strength and momentum.
The stronger this skill becomes and the more momentum you gather, the bigger and scarier obstacles you can overcome on your path to greatness.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.