It was like a new beginning. The end of a painful chapter and the beginning of a new one, everything felt possible and everything was indeed possible. The first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone and got rewarded for it. It was the 1st of December 2013, I quit my job and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. This was the way out of a 6 months intense depression where I felt empty like if I was dead from inside, all motivation for anything was gone and I was getting drunk way too often and self-destructive just to feel something. That day, everything shifted. It’s crazy how one single decision, which takes a second to make, can change the rest of your life. This article is about overcoming your fears and how it might change your life for the better. It is based on my experiences but first of all a little disclaimer.
We all are unique and for some people, living a sedentary life and working 9 to 5 is what fulfill them and if it is your case that’s awesome, but this article is for the people feeling stuck like I did in a 9 to 5 job spending days working for a paycheck. I wasn’t fulfilled at all and was feeling stuck there. The decision to step out of this life was very hard to take but it was the best decision I ever took. I haven’t had any regret at any time since the 4 and counting years that I took it. I discovered another way to live and realized all the rules I thought were real, in the end, were just illusions created by society. The walls collapsed and I discovered a new world behind.
What is fear?
Fear is a very powerful feeling that is used by our body and mind to keep us safe. It can be what will save your life from a danger but as well what will keep you stuck in your comfort zone from doing what you really want to do but don’t dare to.
Usually, a good fear is the one acting on the now. There is a danger and it will help you get the right behavior to act towards this danger. The Sympathetic Nervous System is responsible to deliver to the body a whole lot of hormones which will affect your perception and help you to take the decision to Fight or Flight. This fear is the one keeping you safe and alive from doing something stupid. It is the good fear.
On the other hand, the bad fear is the one created by your thoughts, acting on the belief system. It makes you worry about everything that could happen in the future. We all are subjects to this fear and for some people, it is more important than for others. This fear creates anxiety and will hold you from doing what you really want to do with your life. In this article, this is the fear we will focus on and overcome.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
But before to start, there is my favorite ever commercial.
How do you want to live your life? Do you want to let your fears control your life or do you want to live it fully, be confident and get what you want in life? If you choose the second option, you’ll realize at the end, when you’ll look back, that all your fears are, just like this wolf, some illusions created by your mind. You can be afraid of it and walk back, or you can run through it and break those fears. This video is so true to me, it gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.
You always have the choice
The only place where fear exists is in your thoughts and it always is related to the future. Your thoughts are creating fear of events that are not real yet and will most likely never be. Now, that’s up to you to choose to believe those fears and stay where you are or to realize they are just made up by your mind and overcome them.
The ultimate goal of every human being is happiness. If you don’t feel happy right now then lock yourself in your bedroom for 30 minutes and think about what change in your life could drive you toward happiness.
You are where you are because of who you are and if you want to get somewhere else, then you’ll have to change something about who you are right now. You can’t expect different results with repeating the same actions over and over.
You have the choice to take action and if you wait until tomorrow, it will never come. Your only possibility to act on it is NOW. One single decision can change the entire course of your life. From hell to heaven. This is what happened to me in December 2013 and seriously that was the most frightening decision I ever took and the most liberating at the same time. It was the first time I felt bliss. I can say now that my life really started on that day.
That’s when I decided to stop giving fucks about what everyone else wanted me to do or to be and started being who I really wanted to be.
I want to be clear, for me, the choice I took was to quit my job because I couldn’t stand it anymore. It wasn’t bringing me joy. But for you, it can be something totally different. Analyse what is not bringing you joy right now and should, then act on it.
Anatomy of your comfort zone
First of all, let’s describe what is your comfort zone. It’s a place where everything is known and safe. The boundaries of your comfort zone are made of fears. Outside your comfort zone, there is the unknown. There is most likely what you want to reach but are too afraid to run through the wall of fear. So, you stay in your known and safe area and let go of what you really want in life. It’s like a kid looking at candies through the window of a shop. We were born with an unlimited comfort zone and as we grow, our fear boundaries are slowly getting created by our parents, siblings, friends, society, experiences… the goal now, is to go back toward that state of unlimited comfort zone.
I see the comfort zone as an area made of different parts. You can grow one area and not change another one depending on what you push yourself into. For example, if you are scared of skydiving, by doing it, you will expand this area and realize it is actually awesome, there was no need to be scared more than that. But doing this won’t make you more confident in your relationships with others if you are shy. It will grow only the part of your comfort zone that is related to action sports, not the one related to relationships. You got me? So basically,
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try
Your comfort zone is not something fixed. You can make it evolve all the time and the more often you push yourself out of it, the bigger and the faster it will grow. It can grow to a point where you don’t even have clear fear boundaries anymore. Everything can become easy and comfortable. It is when you realize that your fears are not real. You will realize this by trying again and again and succeeding at your tries. What if you fail? Well, I wish you to fail, because this is how you learn, my friend. Every success is the result of many failures.
The sooner you step away of your comfort zone, the sooner you will realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable
– Eddie Harris JR.
Let me tell you two stories about fears and comfort zone:
To come back to the day I quit my job, my biggest fear was about not getting any paycheck anymore. What will I become without money? Paychecks are really an addictive drug keeping you where you are. Then, I went broke after only 4 months… yes, shit happens, in addition, my car broke down, I had nowhere to stay and not enough money to go back to France and I was in a really small town far from everything. I had a strange feeling at this time. Not the one I expected. Instead of being frightened, I felt excited. I realized, first, that I was still alive. I realize that money is not life at all and it doesn’t control your vital organs either your happiness. Every one of my organs was still working very well and I was actually feeling very happy and part of this whole world as I was watching the stars laying down on the roof of my broken car thinking of the possibilities. Then, I realized that when you don’t have anything to lose anymore, you only can win and that’s where the magic happened. I had nothing else to lose and everything was possible again. So, I started contacting people to find work opportunities. Believe it or not, this is when I found my best ever paid job. I was totally out of my comfort zone because at this time I was still really shy and didn’t speak English well enough yet but I realized that all the opportunities are out there, it was only up to me to get out and catch them.
Now, let’s go into the wild. One of the first times I slept alone in my tent in the wild was in the Gorges du Verdon in France. I was in this enclosed cocoon and the only one of my 5 senses connecting me to the outside world was my ears. Every little noise was subject to a crazy amount of stress and stories created in my mind. What could it be? Will I die tonight? I was too scared to open the tent to check out what it was… The next morning, I woke up, alive. With time, and on each night in a tent, I learned to let go of those fears and I was telling myself, you’ll see tomorrow you’ll wake up, alive, and you will laugh at it.
Now that I’ve been sleeping almost everywhere, in any conditions, from mountains top to caves, from boats in the middle of storms to the middle of the Australian outback with no one around for hundreds of kilometers and surrounded by dingos, snakes, etc… I’m still alive, and I realize how huge the gap between my first time and now is. I totally live in a different world! All because of those stories made up in my mind.
As you can see in both cases my fears were just the creation of my mind but I thought, at that time, it was my reality. Your thoughts create the reality you live in. The good thing is that you can modify your thoughts and so you can control any reality.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I understand it’s not so easy at first to get out of your comfort zone. It’s frightening but try it once and you will realize how addictive it can be. Start small if you need and grow your challenges one by one, day by day. Roma wasn’t built in a day. Be willing to set yourself uncomfortable and try something new every day. It’s like everything, practice is the key and it will make the uncomfortable comfortable.
What is the last time you did something crazy? Something that made your hands humid, your heart racing, your breath short…? Now, close your eyes and remember how you were feeling before doing this thing that was scaring you, and then, how were you feeling after you did it? Do you remember how good and satisfied you were feeling afterward! Even if the result was a fail, you felt relieved to have tried it. I think this is a great video where Will Smith is explaining this feeling and the fears that we are building around it very well:
God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror, on the other side of your maximum fear, all the best things in life!
– Will Smith
You realize at the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear
– Will Smith
What to learn about all of this? It’s that your life is waiting for you on the other side of this wall of fear but only you can run through it and reach what you really want to get in life.
And remember, you’ll always be able to get money back at any time but you will never ever be able to get your time back. That’s why you need to take action now.
You always can lose your money and material possessions but you will never lose your experiences. Once you get it, it’s for life. So take the leap and explore this outer and inner world. Create memories and experiences.
Don’t have regrets, live your life now!
One last thing, have you heard of that nurse, Bronnie Ware, who asked her dying patients what was their biggest regrets? There is the 5 most common regrets:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You can read more details about those regrets right here.
I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it
If you want to go further, you should watch the movie The Truman Show which shows very well how beliefs, fear and realizations works. As well, I created a playlist of very good motivational videos and I will keep adding videos to it. You can find it by clicking here I hope it will kick your ass for acting NOW!