Whether it's starting a new job, going on a first date, traveling somewhere new or moving, we've all feel a sense of fear creep into the back of our minds: What if [insert scary thing here] happens? What if he or she doesn't find my jokes funny? What if my boss absolutely hates my new idea for the company?
We let the "what ifs" and fear of the unknown cramp our style and ultimately hold us back from chasing the things we want most out of this world.
But, what if we started our new job and totally blew the CEO away? What if you just happened to have the best first date ever? What if you had the most amazing experience on your excursion through South Africa? What if everything just fell into place when you moved to a new city?
Yes, I know life is f*cking scary. Something bad could always happen: We could get fired from our jobs; we could get robbed; we could fail.
But, we could also forget all of those fear-provoking thoughts and really, truly live. So, I ask you to shut up and stop worrying.
Listen to how you could improve your life by slamming the door in fear's face.
1. Stop listening to everyone else, and start listening to yourself.
Your mom thinks you're going to live out the plot of "Taken" if you backpack through Europe?
At first, you really wanted to go, but now all of her fears are starting to weigh you down: What if something did go wrong? What if my plane crashed?
You could stay up all night thinking of all the thoughts others place in your head. You could ruminate on them so much that you decide to nix the whole idea of traveling.
Or, just maybe, you could stop listening to everyone else and go with your gut.
Would it make you happy to backpack through Europe? Would you gain a lot from it? If you believe the answer is yes, then why would you let other people's fears stop you from going?
Tune in to yourself, and you'll find the right answers.
2. Turn your "what if" statements into positive ones.
"What if" always carries a negative connotation.
However, if you decide to turn it around and say, "What if I have an amazing f*cking time backpacking Europe?" rather than "What if I get robbed backpacking Europe?" you're bound to have a positive experience.
Trust me, I've read every self-help book you can find. This sh*t works.
3. Don't let your past affect your future.
Maybe, you've had a myriad of horrible first dates. Naturally, you let fear creep up, and say to yourself, "You're probably going to have another awful date. You should just stay home and watch Netflix alone."
Okay, so maybe watching Netflix alone isn't the worst thing ever, but you know what would be the worst thing ever? You not going on that first date because the other ones sucked.
Forget the past, no matter what has happened. Put on a new attitude, kick fear out, get out there and do something.
4. If you read into everything you see, maybe you should take a break from the web.
If you're one of those people who believes every life-threatening WebMD diagnosis each time you get the common cold, get off of the Internet.
You're not going to get in a car accident every time you drive down the street. You're not going to die from a head cold. You're most certainly not going to truly live if you keep letting fear take over after every horror story you read online.
Get off your computer, get out there, and get sh*t done.
5. Your ideas matter; don't let fear get in the way of getting them out into the world.
Maybe, your boss shot down the first few ideas you had for ways to improve his company. Don't let that deter you. Keep going.
Shut the worry, the negative "what ifs," the fear of rejection or whatever else it is off. You never know; your boss may be feeling extra great one day and think your new idea is out of this world.
Do not give up.
I don't claim to be some expert, and I can assure you I have definitely let fear get in the way more than once.
However, I have realized that by doing so, I was only setting myself up for failure, the exact opposite of what I wanted. Even if something doesn't go as planned, at least you tried. At least you told fear to f*ck off, and you tried something new.
You won't know unless you try. If you really want to make the most out of your life, you have to take risks.
So, close up your box of fears, throw it in the trash, go out there and really start living.