Too many men wake up one day in the mirror and wonder where all the time went. They had so many dreams, they think, but none of them came to pass. There is a multitude of reasons why their dreams may not have come to pass, but most of them originate from fear.
The fact is, fear drives us to play things safe and prevents us from taking risks. It can also cause us to flounder during our productive years, forcing us to play catch-up in the decades afterward.
Understanding and learning how to overcome fear is something that all men must experience if they are to be successful.
Fear and the Role It Plays
All of us feel fear to some degree. Whether it’s deciding to take a chance at a new job opportunity or deciding to quit your boring office career and kickstart your dream profession from your garage, fear is an inevitable part of progress.
In some cases, fear (and the hesitation that comes with it) can be valuable. Let’s be honest; there are lots of us who might do stupid things if we didn’t take an extra moment to think about the consequences. For instance, worrying about not being able to pay your bills if you quit your current job is a useful thing. It helps you weigh the pros and cons of your next step and decide whether the risk is worth the possible gain.
Basically, fear is an integral piece of the cost-gain analysis that we each experience every day of our lives. Fear is necessary to stop us from making big mistakes and point us in the right direction. In some cases, fear of missing out or fear of stagnation can even inspire you to begin that startup idea you had in college or take a risk on the cute girl you saw at the coffee shop.
Too Much Fear
But there is such a thing as too much fear. We’ve all experienced this at one time or another, too. Too much fear stops you from trying anything and leads you to treading water in your life, whether in your career or in your relationship (or lack thereof).
Too much fear piles up like a physical weight on your shoulders, preventing you from taking steps to improve your lot in life or achieve your goals. This is why it’s important to learn how to consistently overcome your fear when prudent.
At its core, fear is only the apprehension of making a mistake. But mistakes aren’t always something you can avoid! This, like fear, is actually a good thing when looking at things from a distance.
When you were a child, you only learned to walk by falling down over and over. In other words, making a mistake helped you learn. We humans are fantastic at making mistakes, but our ability to survive them and incorporate the knowledge gleaned from those mistakes lets us do better on the follow-up.
Looked at this way, fear of making a mistake is a little counterproductive. For most of us, making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn so long as your mistake isn’t too drastic.
Managing your expectations about making mistakes is the best way to overcome overwhelming fear. If you accept the fact that you’ll make mistakes but take steps to mitigate their effects, you can safely take risks or improve your life with the understanding that you’ll come out on the other side intact.
One of the best examples of this can be seen in the life story of the prototypical entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs only reach success after several failures. They startup one business or come up with one idea, only for it to sputter on arrival and die out. Entrepreneurs with the grit and maturity necessary for success will dust themselves off and plunge on into their next great idea.
But they’ll use their fear for good, harnessing it to inspire them to set up financial safety nets or work a day job at the same time as they pursue their passion. In this way, fear prevents them from making a catastrophic mistake, such as quitting all their jobs and pursuing their dream with no money in the bank.
Men who can harness and overcome their fear can still pursue their dreams or become successful entrepreneurs. They just do it knowing that they’ll likely fail the first time. Put simply, what separates them from men that never achieve anything in life is that they aren’t afraid of making a mistake.
Metamorphosis: Maturity from Mistakes
Mistake-making is a universal part of the human experience. Thankfully, it’s also the best way to become a mature man.
When we’re young, we often have lofty goals or idealistic expectations of ourselves or society. Mistakes act like tempering forces for our passion. They allow us to grow and become more sharply honed versions of ourselves.
Consider the small business owner who makes several mistakes in their first year of operation. Those mistakes allow him to cut costs during the next year or higher better workers than his first batch. His second year is more successful than his first only because he overcame his fear, learned from his mistakes, and kept going. This is the trademark business ethic of the mature man.
While it’s possible to grow from success as well, achieving your goals comes with no sting. What’s more is that young, immature men can often succeed and consider their success to be ordained or self-assured. Success is necessary to keep up your confidence and keep your dream alive, but mistakes are a far better way to learn overall.
Words of Wisdom
Those who’ve already had lots of life experience and made mistakes may share their wisdom with you. This can often be valuable and can act as a shortcut through painful mistakes that you might otherwise have to endure.
However, remember that everyone’s experiences are their own. Advice is useful but never guaranteed to help. You should always trust your own judgment and experiences when making objective analyses of situations or decisions.
Conclusion – Your Goals Are Within Reach!
Fear is an important part of any man’s life, but only in healthy amounts (like your favorite liquor). Being able to overcome your fear and use it to temper your decisions and expectations is the key to achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams.