Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.– Harold Whitman
When you constantly fear the unknown or what others will think, you hold yourself back from achieving your goals and living out your dreams.
You worry what might happen when you do something outside of yourself, and how it will interfere with your “normal” life. Then, when the unknown comes to pass, or an entire year goes by, you feel frustrated or embarrassed that you didn’t do X, Y, and Z. What might’ve happened could have brought you closer to your dream.
The word “might” is used to express a possibility or suggestion. And it’s usually scary because the suggested outcomes seem so true in your head, whether it’s based on memories from experiences or simply your imagination.
We’re afraid of the unknown. Of what might happen. Of what others might say, think, or do.
Even though you KNOW what you want and what to do, this fear makes you give up your dreams and your potential for something less than. It makes you hesitant and complacent. But,
- What if you changed your perspective and embraced what might happen?
- What if you acted on your ideas and dreams, despite fearing the unknown?
- What if this fear, or struggle, is the catalyst to your greatest success?
Let Go Of Fearing The Unknown
The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning to work on becoming yourself.– Anna Quindlen
According to some scholars, the fear of the unknown is most likely the foundation to other fears.
It’s what holds you back from going past your present self and growing. It’s a key factor of why we don’t go after what we really want in life.
We don’t know what might happen and so we hesitate, overthink, and constantly settle for less. We work these muscles out and give ourselves less of a chance to take risks.
There are 3 concepts you can embrace to let go of fearing the unknown:
- Ask yourself “what might happen?”
- Act on your ideas
- Pursue when you hesitate
It might tempt you to snap your fingers and say, that’s it! I’m on it! But the key ingredient is actually doing it when the moment comes. And it takes practice.
Sometimes I’ll share an idea with Ruvim after a situation and he’ll respond: Why didn’t you share that earlier? That’s such a great idea! And more often than not, my response is that I was afraid of what he’d think.
Noticing this pattern, I challenged myself to let go of what held me back, fearing the unknown. Because ultimately, we take each day as it comes, not fully knowing what will happen. We assume because we’ve built routines, but this is life, and anything can happen.
“What Might Happen?”
Whenever you come across a risky idea, or see that your goal is actually attainable, ask yourself what might happen.
Not out of doubt, fear, or worry, but out of possibility, success, and achievement. What might happen in the best way possible? Give yourself and your goal the benefit of the doubt and take the risk. By asking yourself this question, you give yourself the opportunity to have fun of by daydreaming and unlock the portal to your imagination.
Obviously don’t get irrational, but in the context of letting go of your fear of the unknown to pursue your goal, what’s the BEST that can happen? By envisioning this part, you’ll be able to conjure a plan to work towards your goal and eventually achieve it.
Act on your ideas
If you tend to hold your ideas back and second-guess yourself, this point is for you!
Like my example above, it’s vital that you act on your ideas before you dwell on the second thought of fearing the unknown. The reason we don’t follow through with sharing or acting on our ideas is because we’ve dwelt on the fear of what others will think or risking something in the process.
Share your ideas with someone immediately, and if you can’t, write it out. By writing it, you commit to the possibility of it being the greatest idea of your life. Because even if you don’t act on it now, you can come back and see it again and then make an even more rational decision. It’s not about failure at this point, but keeping track of your ideas and creating opportunities for yourself to succeed.
Pursue when you hesitate
Finally, more often than not (especially if you’re new to this kind of mindset), hesitation is your best friend. We hesitate because we fear the unknown and what others will think or say.
But if you pursue as soon as you feel yourself get hesitant, you will become more confident, willing, and humble because your ideas will get clearer and better. The question in our moments of hesitation is:
What do I have to lose?
Ask yourself this question the next time you hesitate, overthink, and get tempted to settle for less.
Work out the muscles to embrace growth and your full potential.
Share your ideas when they come. As soon as you catch yourself hesitating, pursue the discomfort. This will increase your confidence. This will sharpen your ability to take risks fearlessly.
Don’t worry or fear the outcome or what others will think.
Let go of what’s holding you back.
Let go of the fear and ask yourself,
What if I don’t do it? What do I have to lose?