Fear is perhaps the single most important reason that you are not taking action right now.
Fear is the response to change that our brain sends us when we try to break the status quo. What if something goes wrong? I’m sure you asked yourself this question a lot of times, sometimes in your subconscious, and then refused to take action because you didn’t know the answer.
I don’t even want to think about how many opportunities I lost because of fear. Fear must be the root of all evil!
Don’t get me wrong, fear is important for us and without it, we would risk our life many times in a day, so you should not try to remove it completely (assuming you’re able to). What you can do instead, is try to remove the fear of breaking the status quo.
Fortunately, there’s a simple yet very powerful hack that you can use to overcome the fear of doing something new, which I’m sure you have use it already many times without even knowing it.
But first, let me tell you about two things that will help to make sense of the rest later. The first one is that fear of breaking the status quo is highly related to lack of experience. Your brain produces fear because it doesn’t know what will happen. The second one is that your brain doesn’t distinguish between real situations and imaginary ones. Indeed top class athletes use to run entire races on the back of their mind as a part of their training.
Knowing that, it’s easy to come up with this hack. If you want to overcome fear of doing something, simply imagine doing it on the back of your mind.
This technique, called visualization, is like pure experience for your brain, and it’s so effective that you’ll want to use it every time once you’ll learn how to use it.
So how does this visualization thing work?
To start using visualization, just think of something you are postponing every time, perhaps because you are afraid of doing it. It doesn’t have to be something dangerous, you can just use this technique to beat procrastination and laziness.
For example, let’s think about a common scenario, waking up one hour earlier in order to do some physical activity. Unless you are already doing it, I guess your brain is not too happy at the idea of waking up earlier to do something that will provoke fatigue. I guess the discussion between you and your brain would be something like this:
You: Hey, I want to wake up one hour earlier tomorrow.
Brain: You’re crazy? Why?
You: Eh, I’d like to do some physical activity.
Brain: No way.
So how do you convince your brain that doing some movement is not that bad idea? Trough visualization of course. Let’s look how.
Here’s how you would use visualization. Close your eyes and imagine that you are already doing it. Visualize yourself switching back your alarm clock of one hour and going to bed earlier. See yourself waking up, going to the bathroom (or whatever your morning routine is), and then finally do some exercise. If you like running, see yourself wearing your running clothes and shoes and going outside, and running. If you don’t know what to do, see yourself doing some basic stretching exercises and some pushups and pullups, after a good session of warming up of course.
The more realistic your visualization is, the better.
Every time you do this exercise, you are lowering your level of fear, so if what you want to do is really scaring, feel free to repeat this exercise until you feel more secure.
I personally use this technique every time I can. As I said earlier, you can use it to fight resistance on doing scaring things (that you know are not that dangerous), but also to fight procrastination and laziness. For example you may visualize yourself working one hour every day on a particular project, and enjoying the benefits.
Of course this is not a substitute for taking action. This is only a hack to eliminate fear of taking action, but you still have to do it in the real world. The good news is that after you have visualized a specific experience, it’ll be easier to do it, because somehow you’ll have already done it before.