14 Most Common Fears in Life and What To Do About Them
Posted by Paul Piotrowski on Apr 23rd, 2008
Yesterday I wrote about the 15 Things That May Be Killing Your Success.
The first item on the list of things that may be killing your chances at success is Fear. Fear comes in many flavors. Today I’d like to explore some of the most common types of fears and offer a bit of advice on how to overcome some of them.
Although there are many different types of fears out there, a lot of the smaller fears actually stem from a group of base fears common to most people. For example, the fear of spiders can actually be tied back to the real fear of death, pain or sickness. It is not necessarily the spider that we are afraid of, but rather what will happen if the spider bites us.
Fear of flying in an airplane is another example. It is actually more probable that we have a fear of dying in a plane crash than simply being in an airplane.
Here is a list of the 14 most common base fears which other fears derive from:
1. Fear of Disease, Sickness or Poor Health
This is a very common fear. It is deeply routed in our natural desire to avoid pain. This fear is amplified in individuals who have encountered sickness or poor health early on in their lives or have had a friend or loved one encounter sickness or poor health.
The challenge here is that a lot of us spend all of our energy worrying about different kinds of diseases like Cancers or some exotic disease we might “catch” from someone at some point or some condition we think has been genetically programmed into our DNA.
In actual fact, my extensive studies in the area of nutrition reveal that the human body is incredibly resilient and incredibly strong. It has the ability to heal and recover from some incredibly unfortunate circumstances if we treat our bodies with respect and provide them with proper nutrition and exercise.
2. Fear of Losing Your Job
Most of us rely on a “job” of some sort to pay our monthly bills. Most people nowadays have thought about building a second income stream so that they’re not dependent on one income stream, but they usually don’t know where to get started. This is why most people are stuck in the rat race of being an employee.
You may very well be a good employee, but the company you work for may encounter some tough times and you may be laid off. Another possibility is that you may be fired due to some form of conflict between yourself and your superiors.
One of the ways to overcome having to worry about this fear is to constantly work on improving the value you provide to your employer, regardless where you are working. Become so invaluable that your employer stays up at night worrying about losing you as an employee, not the other way around. This way, even if for some reason you end up losing your job, you will be able to find something else very quickly and most likely without having to endure a pay cut.
Ultimately, however, the BEST path to overcoming this fear long term is to become your own boss by starting your own business.
However, for most people, the concept of starting your own business creates a whole new set of fears.
That is why it is imperative to follow a proven system that other people have been successful with.
One example of proven business systems is a franchise opportunity such as a McDonald’s or a Starbucks etc.
Most top franchises have an incredibly high success rate for those who purchase them.
The only problem with most franchises is that they have a high start-up cost that can range upwards of $250,000 just to get started.
In the recent years, a new type of business opportunity has been very effective at producing results using the Internet to make money online.
3. Fear of Dying
A close cousin of the fear of disease and sickness, the fear of dying can have a debilitating effect on people. This is not an easy fear to overcome as it is basically bred into our DNA as a species. There are a few perspectives that may aid you in overcoming this fear.
Firstly, realize that one day we will all die. There is no escaping it. However, what you can escape is the burden of living your life and worrying every single day about dying. Why live that way? Isn’t it a waste of your life to spend so much energy worrying about something you have no control over? Unless you are consciously increasing your likelihood of dying by participating in unhealthy habits like cigarette smoking, there really is no reason to expend energy towards worrying about dying. What will it accomplish?
Secondly, something that has personally had a huge impact on me in this area of life is getting clear on my spiritual beliefs. Taking the time to get clear on your spiritual beliefs can often bring about a level of peace and acceptance that eliminates much of the fear surrounding death.
For people with an irrational fear of death that starts to consume their lives, processes like B.E.S.T. treatments can be of huge help as well as PSYCH-K.
4. Fear of Loneliness
A lot of us have a deep need to be connected to other people. Our relationships are very important to us. Unfortunately a lot of times our fear of loneliness can keep us locked into destructive relationships which aren’t healthy for us.
One of the most important elements of overcoming the fear of loneliness is to work on improving your relationship with YOURSELF. This is such a major point in personal development, I think it deserves a lot of attention. You need to develop a strong, healthy relationship with yourself first and foremost. You will never have a healthy relationship with anyone else if you can’t have a healthy relationship with yourself. Become your own best friend. Only then can you share yourself with others completely.
When you reach that stage in your life where you are completely comfortable with yourself, you will experience two very interesting things. Firstly, you will find that you no longer fear loneliness as much anymore. You realize that if you were left alone, things wouldn’t be that bad. Being by yourself, spending time in the company of nobody else but yourself doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Secondly, even though you’re totally OK with being alone now, everyone around you all of a sudden wants to be friends with you. It’s like all of a sudden you have unlimited friends coming into your life.
This happens because people are naturally drawn towards those people who don’t NEED people. If you NEED other people to be happy, people will be repulsed by your energy and this further feeds your fear of loneliness in an endless spiral. If, however, you learn to love yourself you will find that people are attracted to you and your fear of loneliness disappears.
5. Fear of Uncertainty About Your Future
Lets say that your current circumstances are totally fine and you are happy in the present moment and everything is exactly as you want it to be. Well, even under those kinds of circumstances a lot of us still have this fear of uncertainty about our future. It’s almost like we’re just waiting for everything to go wrong and our life to get screwed up.
Don’t allow this fear to destroy your present moment life. It is not healthy to worry about the future all the time. Yes there is a time for future planning and such, but a lot of us spend way too much time worrying about tomorrow instead of enjoying where we are today.
Work on strengthening your confidence in your own abilities to face unforeseen circumstances. Learn to have faith that if something does happen in the future that you couldn’t predict or avoid that you will have the strength and ability to handle it with ease.
One of the best ways to stop worrying about the future is to join organizations, clubs and network groups that attract people who are positive thinkers and who don’t worry about thing.
When you get around people who are positive and who never worry about things, you stop worrying yourself.
Whereas if you are constantly hanging out with people who are constantly worrying about things, you end up doing the same.
6. Fear of Failure
The fear of failure is a paralyzing fear that prevents a lot of people from realizing their true potential in life. The only real way to overcome this fear is to change your philosophy of how you see failure. Our traditional school system breeds a philosophy that encourages us to avoid failure at all costs. Students who try and fail are often punished, while others who don’t even try are simply left alone.
We must learn to frame our failures as temporary mis-takes which simply need to be re-taken again. Remember that every time we fail at something we can learn something from that mis-take if we have a learning attitude on, instead of a frustrated attitude on. We are naturally programmed from birth to be OK with failure, and it is only later that we are taught to avoid it. Babies FAIL at walking over and over and over and over again and again until one day they succeed, and they are OK with that. The parents sit there and cheer them on in delight. Yet what happens in school later on is that as soon as we make a mis-take on something we get punished.
The most successful people in the world are the ones who have actually failed the most. They have made mis-takes over and over again, but their attitude didn’t focus on the mis-take, it focused them on continuing to try again and again.
Don’t try to avoid failure. Embrace it. Go fail at something a bunch of times and you’ll see that as long as you learn something from each “failure” experience, as long as you don’t give up, you’ll eventually succeed.
7. Fear of Making Decisions
This is a rather humorous fear in my opinion. The reason I think it’s somewhat funny is that our Ego’s have so cleverly distorted our perceptions that we actually don’t see the very logical thing that is staring us in the face. A lot of people fear making decisions, yet they don’t realize that by not making a decision they are actually MAKING A DECISION.
If, for example you don’t DECIDE to brush your teeth today, what happens? You don’t brush your teeth right? So in effect, you are actually DECIDING NOT TO brush your teeth if you don’t DECIDE TO brush your teeth. Do you follow what I mean?
“Oh, I just can’t decide whether to buy this house today.” Well…then that means you are DECIDING not to buy the house today.
“Oh, I just can’t decide if I want to go to this party.” Well….then you are then DECIDING not to go to the party.
Do you see what I mean? Making this realization, however, doesn’t get rid of the fear though, right? Well, if you really truly look at the fear of making decisions, it really is just the fear of failure masked as a fear of making decisions right? You’re not afraid of making decisions. You’re afraid of making the WRONG decisions, right? Explore your feelings about the fear of failure. If you overcome that one, your fear of making the wrong decisions will probably disappear as well.
8. Fear of Conflict
A lot of us are very much afraid of engaging in any kind of conflict in life. This fear may actually be an irrational fear of death disguising itself. If you’re afraid of people and situations where conflicts may arise, you may want to take some courses on conflict resolution or even martial arts training if you’re afraid of people actually hurting you.
If you’re out there living your life to the fullest, you will surely encounter situations where conflicts may arise. Don’t avoid these situations. Just accept the fact that they will arise from time to time and you do have the ability to engage and negotiate a win-win resolution. Don’t allow this fear to paralyze you into hiding from the world.
9. Fear of Rejection
This one requires you to really work on your own self confidence. If you are self confident and you know you are a good person, rejection will just slide off your back. If you have low self esteem and you are always looking for validation from others to tell you that you are a good person, you will always shy away from rejection. You will not ask for what you want in life from people because you will be afraid that they will say no.
Rejection will happen. It will probably happen to you all the time, like every week. If you’re in sales, it will probably happen several times every day. Don’t take it personally. Remember that similar to the fear of making decisions, often times when we don’t ask for something in fear of hearing a no, we are in effect saying NO to ourselves. By default the answer is NO, but if you ASK at least you have a chance of getting a yes.
10. Fear of Stupidity, Ignorance, Lack of Knowledge
Lack of preparation in life brings this fear to life. A lot of people are too lazy to study and take the time to prepare for future circumstances, and then they develop this fear of being unprepared, unqualified and ignorant to the situation at hand. Become an avid reader and student in life and discipline yourself to prepare for situations. If you have a test to write, study for it. If you continuously put yourself in situations where you are unprepared, you will develop and strengthen this fear of stupidity.
This is actually just laziness disguised. Don’t allow laziness to create fears in your life.
11. Fear of Losing Your Most Important Relationships
Take the time to spend time with your loved ones and create cherished memories that will stay with you forever. Take note that the fear of loneliness may play a big part here as well. If you get rid of that fear, this fear will also lose its hold on you.
12. Fear of Public Speaking
I have often heard people say that the fear of public speaking for most people is greater than the fear of death. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can definitely attest to the fact that the fear of public speaking is massive for most people. Perhaps this is why public speakers make so much money, because nobody else wants to do it. :)
One of the best ways to overcome this fear is to start really small and put yourself in a situation where you are in front of supportive, positive people. Prepare a presentation for just two of your friends over lunch. Then work on presenting to a group of your friends at your house, perhaps to 5 or 6 of your friends. Then maybe move up to something a bit bigger like a presentation in front of a boardroom of people. Work your way up in baby steps and practice and prepare before your presentations.
Becoming a part of a club that offers public speaking training in a safe environment can be a huge help.
If you’d like to join an organization that provides such training, click here.
13. Fear of Being Poor
If you have ever experienced being poor or you grew up your entire life being poor, you may have a very strong fear of poverty. The best way to combat poverty is to educate yourself in finances. Don’t leave it up to someone else to take care of your finances. Learn how money works. There are tonnes of resources out there which you can tap into very inexpensively to learn about finances and how money works. You could sit down with a financial professional, or go to the public library to borrow books on finances. There are also a lot of resources available on the Internet in eBooks or on blogs like this one.
Become a student of money and how it works. Don’t dismiss money or treat it as an after-thought. Money plays a central role in our lives and it deserves our attention. If you really study how money works, how to make it and how to grab control over your personal finances you will vaporize your fear of poverty forever.
14. Fear of Success
People always laugh at this one when they first hear it. “Yeah right, who’s afraid of success…” they say.
Actually, I am completely convinced that the fear of success is responsible for more failure in life than the fear of failure. I wouldn’t have believed this ten years ago, but from my experience there is actually a lot more to this fear than most people realize.
You’d think that if you were successful overnight that your life would instantly improve and all your problems would disappear. Well, our fear is that it won’t. We fear that things won’t get better, that things will stay exactly the same, or even get worse, which is why we prefer to fantasize about success instead of actually pursuing it.
If you were a multi-millionaire tomorrow, what would your friends think of you? Who would ask to borrow money from you? How would you deal with that? What would you do with yourself? How would you invest your money? How would you make sure someone doesn’t take advantage of you? Would you still be able to trust your friends to like you for who you are? Rich people are evil, right? Money is the root of all evil, right? The list goes on. See how many things a person can have attached towards “success”?
Visualize being successful, and see if any feelings of fear come up. Explore this fear and you may find that it is actually at the center of your lack of success, more so than all the other fears combined.
Hopefully this sheds a bit of light on some of the most common fears we face each day and gives you a good starting point of how to address some of them. Fear is a huge success killer so be aware of that and go to work on eliminating your fears. Be patient with yourself and realize that you’ve been living with these fears for decades so most likely they will not just disappear overnight. Stay at it though and work on facing your fears every day and you will see just how much your life will improve.
One of the most powerful ways of dealing with ALL kinds of fears is to join a success club that specializes in helping people overcome fears, such as the fear of poverty, public speaking, etc.
I strongly recommend visiting the following link to learn more about a success club that I joined that helped me to overcome some of my fears and boosted my confidence in life in a big way.
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