Monthly Archives: May 2013

7 Ways to Be More Fearless

how to be fearless

Being fearless doesn’t necessarily mean jumping out of airplanes or traveling to the world’s most dangerous regions (although it certainly can if you want).  For some people, cultivating a sense of fearlessness is more about gathering the courage to ask for a major promotion or to make a cross-country move for the chance at a better life.

No matter what specific end result you’re working towards, the following tips should help you to minimize fear and embrace courage in your life:

Tip #1 – Identify your fears

The first step towards becoming more fearless is to simply identify what it is you’re afraid of.  If you’ve been fighting a vague sense of anxiety or unease, it’s a vital part of the fear-busting process!

However, while some fears are fairly straightforward (for example, the fear of spiders or snakes), lifestyle fears tend to be more complex.  If, as an example, you’re afraid of tornadoes, be aware that it’s not just the weather phenomenon that scares you – it’s also the threat of death, devastation and loss that these types of systems can bring about.

By taking the time to really get to the root of what scares you, you’ll be able to process your fears using the following tips in order to reduce the impact they have on your life.

Tip #2 – Explore worst case and more likely scenarios

Once you know what it is you’re afraid of, take the time to map out the worst case scenarios that could result.  Say you want to ask for a raise, but are afraid of being rejected.  In this example, the worst case scenario would be your boss telling you to pack your bags and leave.  But it’s much more likely that your request will either be approved or turned down politely.

Use these more likely scenarios to prevent your mind from running away with the absolute worst possible outcome in a given situation.

Tip #3 – Pick a relaxation technique

People deal with stress in different ways.  Having a relaxation technique that suits your personality is a vital part of managing fear in your life.

For example, to help control your fears, you could try:

  • Engaging in meditation
  • Getting an intense workout
  • Writing in a journal
  • Singing along with loud music
  • Attending religious services

There’s no right or wrong way to relax, so listen to your own mind when it comes to finding activities that’ll take the edge off your fear.

Tip #4 – Avoid anticipatory fear

Being scared of an event or action is one thing.  But it’s also common for people to build up certain scenarios in their own minds to the point where the fear of anticipation is worse than the fear of the event itself!

Don’t do this to yourself.  If you find yourself feeling fearful about a future event (or something that you aren’t sure will even happen), use the relaxation techniques described above to calm yourself down.  There’s no reason to make your fear worse by psyching yourself up unnecessarily.

Tip #5 – Tell somebody your fears

Fear tends to be a very personal thing, which distorts our perspective and magnifies our fears.  If, for example, you’re afraid of being rejected by a potential date, you might revisit the fear over and over again in your mind – until you’re certain that you’ll never get a date again.

It might be scary to think about telling a friend or family member about the things you fear, but often, getting this type of outsider input can help you to see your fears from a different angle.  You’ll immediately feel less alone after confiding in another person, and you may find yourself coming away from the exchange with advice and recommendations from others who have dealt with the same fears.

Tip #6 – See a therapist

We all face fears and – nine times out of ten – these fears are manageable.  However, in some cases, fear grows out of control, becoming something that actively prevents people from living full, engaging lives.

If you find yourself in this situation, consider seeing a therapist who specializes in fear and anxiety management.  There’s nothing shameful about seeking professional help, and you might be surprised by how much of a difference this type of support can make in your life.

Tip #7 – Confront your fears head on

Finally, once you’ve worked through all of the tips listed above, there’s nothing else to do but to confront your fears head on.

On a regular basis, try to do things that scare you.  Don’t be stupid or take unnecessarily dangerous risks, but do make it an effort to counteract fear with action.  If you’re afraid of romantic rejection, ask the hottest person in the bar out on a date.  If you’re scared about asking for a promotion at work, set a deadline for yourself and commit to talking to your boss on a particular day.

We all have fears, but there’s no reason to let them control your life.  Adopt the above tips in your own life and start being more fearless today!

How to Stop Slacking Off for Good

stop slacking off

Maybe you’re one of those people who dutifully acknowledges deadlines – who works at a slow and steady pace that ensures that everything is completed ahead of schedule, with a minimum amount of rushing and panic.

If you’re one of those people, you can stop reading now – this article isn’t for you!

Instead, this post is for the procrastinators, the slackers and for everybody else who sees deadlines rushing towards them and still feels powerless to act.  If you have the sneaking suspicion that you could be doing better at managing your responsibilities, you need to take the following three steps:

Step #1 – Assess your priorities

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to killing procrastination is that it’s not always an indication that you’re lazy.  In plenty of cases, the fact that you can’t get focused is your mind trying to tell you that you aren’t working on the right things.

Can’t seem to get motivated to get to the gym on a regular basis?  Maybe the problem isn’t you – it’s the type of workout you’ve chosen to commit to.  Struggling to do the work necessary to be considered for a big promotion?  It could be your brain’s subconscious way of telling you that you’re pursuing the wrong job or field.

So whenever you find yourself slacking off, dig deeper to uncover the reasons for your lack of motivation.  While you might not be able to change your situation to eliminate slacking off entirely, you may find certain instances in which you can circumvent procrastination by changing your priorities.

Step #2 – Set strict deadlines

Once you’ve weeded out any unnecessary procrastination triggers, it’s up to you to set strict deadlines for yourself.

According to Parkinson’s Law, a task expands to fill the amount of time allotted to it.  If you have two hours to put together a 10-page report, you’ll find a way to get it done.  But if you’re given two days to complete the same task, it won’t take the same two hours to complete.  Instead, you’ll find that the project expands to fill the entire two days – leaving you slacking off until the last possible minute and feeling the stress of this work hanging over your head.

Fortunately, you can use this rule to your advantage.  To avoid slacking off, break each of your projects – whether personal or professional – into smaller chunks.  Then, assign a deadline to every chunk that you create.  Make your deadlines as small as possible.  Even if you know that you have more time that could be allotted to each chunk, creating a little bit of pressure by setting tight deadlines will give you the motivation needed to get things done.

If you find yourself disregarding your own deadlines, enlist the support of others.  At work, promise your superiors that you’ll have certain milestones completed at set times in order to give yourself extra incentive to avoid slacking off.  If your goals are related to personal activities, share them with a friend, a family member or a public blog to give yourself the impression that you’ll be letting others down if you fail to stick to your deadlines.

And if you really need some extra motivation, look into using a service like StickK, which will allow you to bet a certain amount of money on yourself for completing certain tasks.  If you fail to meet the goals you set for yourself on the website, your money could wind up going to a charity you hate – creating the extra incentive needed to prevent procrastination.

Step #3 – Optimize your environment

After you’ve created deadlines that will prevent you from slacking off and enlisted the support of an accountability buddy, the last thing you’ll want to do is to dissect your environment for any triggers that could be preventing you from getting things done.

As an example, if you always struggle to make it to the gym because your workout clothes are upstairs and you always wind up parked on the couch before you can change, find a way to store your attire closer to the door.

If you consistently procrastinate on a reporting task at work because it takes too long to gather all the data you need, develop a new system that involves collecting information on the day before you need to create your reports.

Pay attention to your own unique rhythms as well.  If you’re full of energy in the morning, but tend to need a nap by mid-afternoon, schedule your deadlines to coincide with your most focused periods.  There’s no reason to fight against yourself when it comes to getting things done!

Really, there are always going to be ways to slack off and procrastination triggers that discourage you from living up to your full potential.  While implementing these steps will go a long way towards preventing you from slacking off, only you can take responsibility for eliminating the excuses and bullshit that lead to devastating procrastination.