Cultivating fearlessness is a chief component for happy, successful people. Those who don’t fear limits, invest in themselves, and believe they can do what they set their minds to are the ones who chase, and often catch, their dreams. Sometimes it seems they’re in a league all their own, but almost everyone has to work to develop fearlessness. It’s not an easy road, but taking the right steps can make the rest of the path seem clearer, and less daunting.
In order of least-scariness, here are six things that fearless people know how to do, and do well. Want to develop fearlessness? Take these steps to prove to yourself that you, too, can be fearless:
1. Compliment Someone You Don’t Know
Talking to strangers can be nerve-wracking. As children, we’re told never to do it, and so we often grow up scared to address someone we’ve never met. Perhaps it’s due to fear of rejection.
How can I approach without seeming awkward or strange? How, exactly, does one just approach someone in public and make friends? It all seemed out of reach to me.
Then I realized, everyone loves to be complimented. I don’t mean the, “hey baby you look like heaven in that dress,” or “omigawd I love your earrings!” type of compliments, but genuine, “those are fun sunglasses,” or “purple’s a really nice color on you,” type of compliments. Nearly everyone can be receptive to that type of thing, and it often turns into a conversation, which is the beginning of friendship.
2. Do Something that Scares You, and do it Solo
Sure, the mantra, “do one thing every day that scares you,” by Mrs. E Roosevelt has been floated around the Internet ad nauseum, but she was a darn successful lady and she made a good point.
If being the center of attention is terrifying, join something like Toastmasters, or take a public speaking class. Scared of heights? Maybe it’s time to book that sky dive. If something (within reason) scares you, confront it. Don’t let it rule you, and don’t depend on anyone else to hold your hand while you do it. By overcoming one obstacle, you set the stage to be able to overcome another, all on your own.
3. Prove Someone Wrong Who Doubts You
Has anyone ever said to you, “there’s no way you’d ever be able to do that,” when confiding a dream or secret wish? Don’t get buried in self-doubt just because someone else, no matter who they are to you in life, projects his/her own self-doubts onto you.
If there’s something constructive you’re dying to do, then be independent and do it. Proving to that person (and ultimately yourself) that she was wrong to doubt you can be incredibly empowering.
But while we’re on that topic:
4. Take the High Road
True freedom from fear lies in caring less what others think, and the first step in ceasing to care what people think of you is ceasing to care what their reactions are. Maybe you’ve proven that you were right all along about something. Maybe naysayers tried to hold you back, but you persevered.
Triumph, but don’t gloat. Nothing is more rewarding and admirable than leading by silent example. You did it, and the very fact that you did is reason enough to have pride in yourself.
5. Tell Someone How You Really Feel, but Be Prepared for any Outcome
Perhaps there’s something you’ve wanted to say for a long time. Maybe there is something eating away at you that would set you free if only the words could come out gracefully. Instead of waiting for the other person to address the things you’re dying to release, take matters into your own hands.
The outcome may not be what you hope it to be, but being prepared for any outcome takes you out of the victim’s seat. Plus, the weight will finally be off your shoulders. The act of being the one to finally put the feelings on the table may prove to you that you can be assertive, and that kind of bravery carries over into other things.
6. Take a Leap of Faith
Finally, the ultimate way to cultivate fearlessness is to trust yourself enough to take a leap of faith. Maybe there’s something you’ve wanted to do all your life – teach people, make beautiful things, or in my case, quit my job and then travel the world while writing about it. On the outside, these things might seem crazy to other people, but if it’s in your heart you owe it to yourself to try.
It might not be a wild success at first, and it is going to take hard work, but taking a leap of faith and finding that it works, even if it takes several tries, kills fear right at its core in a way that nothing else can.
When it comes down to it, believe in yourself. Develop self-esteem, and by taking these steps, you’ll prove to yourself that you absolutely can.