How to overcome fear of the unknown
Fear is an illusion that preys on your vulnerability. When you fear something, you are fueling the very thing you’re scared of, to have more power over you.
In this article, I’ll discuss how to overcome fear of the unknown in regards to your goals and dreams.
What is fear of the unknown?
Throughout your life, you might have been taught not to go down the dark alleys or venture off the beaten path because something is always lurking and waiting to devour you. Even though this is an effective strategy to keep children from getting lost or stolen, it does create a confusing situation.
As you get older, you begin to realize that it’s best if you venture down the dark alley because sometimes you’ll find the best food, clothes, or trinkets that no-one else will find. After all, they’re too busy following the crowd.
Creating your own path in life means that you have to brave the unknown and the more you build your courage and step into the unknown the more you’ll learn about yourself and your goals.
Fearing the unknown means that you’re scared to try new things, your way.
What causes fear of the unknown?
The lack of predictability and control of a situation causes you to fear the outcome of the situation; the unknown variables scare you.
If you’re faced with a situation where you cannot control what will happen and you cannot predict any good outcome, the human thing to do is to worry.
Two co-workers and I went to an outlet mall close to Mexico. We were under strict instructions to not enter Mexico by any means but a few wrong turns and we were on the other side of the border.
Both my co-workers started to freak out. I imagine they saw their pensions and privileges flash before them as they tried to figure out what to do.
Just like everyone else who was on their way back to the United States, we had to join the long, chaotic line of cars. Luckily we didn’t have a meeting to get to so waiting wasn’t a problem.
While sitting in the back of the car observing everything around me, I could feel their nervousness and tried to reassure them that everything would be okay.
Confused by my calmness in this tension-filled environment one of them with fear in their eyes asked me, “How are you so calm?” I simply replied, “We took a wrong turn, we did nothing wrong so there’s nothing to worry about.”
I believe my calmness in the situation allowed them to relax a bit but once it was evident that we were more than okay, they began to lighten up (after we were granted access back into the country).
The fear they had took over their thoughts and actions and made them fumble and stutter. Not knowing that the situation would be okay caused them to doubt themselves and to think of the worst possibilities.
Fear does that to you; it cripples your thoughts and your actions and forces you to make unwise decisions.
How to overcome fear of the unknown
When working on your goals and dreams, there will be instances where you have to take a blind leap. Life is meant to be lived the way you envision it and that comes with its own challenges.
The truth is, we are all living in the unknown.
It’s impossible to know what will happen five or ten minutes from now. So fearing what might happen is wasting precious energy that can be channeled into creating the life you imagine.
Once you understand and accept that to get what you seek to accomplish, you must venture down the unbeaten path, you’ll begin to understand that fear is all in your head.
Overcoming fear of the unknown means believing in yourself and trusting that no matter what, you can achieve all your goals if you keep pushing forward.
How can you overcome fear of the unknown?
Analyze your thoughts
Try to understand where your fear is stemming from and root it out. If you understand why you fear something, you will no longer be fearful of it.
I have a hospital phobia because as a child an overweight lady tried to sit on my head. I fell asleep on the hospital bench while waiting for my grandmother and my cousin— who was admitted— to come back. Apparently, I was too small so she didn’t see me but I woke up just in time to not get crushed by her derrière. For the longest time, I never understood why I would get panic attacks when I was close to any hospitals but once I remembered that traumatic event, I understood my dislike for the place.
Even though you might not have been almost-crushed by a giant derrière, there’s a reason that’s holding you back from doing that task that needs to get done. Find what that reason is, analyze it, and take back your power.
Do your research
Fearing the outcome of anything naturally goes away whenever you’ve done adequate research. If you’ve explored all the options of how a circumstance will turn out —the good, the bad, the ugly, and the out-of-this-world weird—you’ll have nothing to fear. Cover your bases but understand that sometimes a small detail can be missed and it’s that small detail that will throw you a curveball. Research, research, research.
Manage your stress
Being stressed to the point of burnout should never be an option. Do some stress management activities like going for a walk, stretching, or meditating to keep yourself focused and on track. Once you feel the beginning stages of being stressed, take a break and do something else to give your mind time to rest and rejuvenate.
Create a detailed plan
Goal management is what I believe to be the eliminator of fearing the unknown. If you’ve created a detailed step-by-step plan to achieve your goals, fearing the unknown doesn’t have the chance to manifest itself in your thoughts. Keep working on achieving your goals, the fear will dissipate. The best way to fight the fear is to do exactly what you know. That way you’re building your confidence within yourself by moving one step closer to achieving your goals and dreams.
Don’t let fear of the unknown rule your life! You have the ability to achieve all the goals you’ve set for yourself and if you don’t fully believe that yet, keep working towards them and prove it to yourself. You are capable of anything!