January 12, 2017
4 Ways to Build Strength and Conquer Fear
Fear is a core human experience; it crosses all cultural boundaries and national borders. Yet despite its universal nature and our long history of dealing with it, there are still many instances of people feeling held hostage by their fears. There are many proven ways to overcome fear by building inner strength to take control of our lives. Here are four physical challenges that people all over the world have taken to symbolically prove to themselves that they can and will conquer their fears and transform their lives.
Like many of these other tests of will and personal power, firewalking isn’t about the physical action itself; rather, it is a useful metaphor for overcoming fear. Firewalking is practiced all over the world, and while it can seem terrifying at first, it is completely safe within a controlled setting. Walking over hot coals is something anyone can do — as long as they are in “peak state” and following the correct process.
Skydiving is the kind of physical test that makes it onto many bucket lists because it symbolizes primal fears. Humans are naturally terrified of falling from great heights. However, skydiving is a well-controlled version of the falling experience, and it is safe. , skydiving gets safer every year. In 2015, out of about 4.2 million solo jumps, there were 21 fatal accidents in the U.S. That’s just 0.0005%. Tandem jumps, which are required for beginners, are even safer, with a fatality rate of 0.0002% over the past decade. The National Safety Council says that lightning and bees are a lot more dangerous to you than skydiving — both are far more likely to kill you.
More importantly, those who skydive to conquer their fears get the experience of willing themselves out the door of an airplane and into a free fall — they learn to trust their minds, not be controlled by their fears.
Marathon and triathlon competitions
Training for a marathon or triathlon is a slow and steady version of the mind-over-matter challenge. For many of us, competing in and finishing a marathon or triathlon seems nothing less than impossible. However, with incremental work and dedication, many people can participate safely, proving that they were able to do it after all. It’s not for everyone, but training for a long-form competitive event like a marathon and finishing it successfully can be your step away from fear and toward what’s possible.
Climbing a mountain to conquer a fear is another way to build inner strength. Depending on which peak you choose to scale, this endeavor has the potential to be dangerous. It can also be prohibitively expensive, and, for many people, physically difficult to accomplish – similar to a marathon. Still, for some, literally climbing the mountain can mean figuratively conquering the fear they face internally.
Whichever physical test or challenge you choose, the most important part is to see it clearly as the metaphor that it is. You are taking on the challenge to break through your fears and limits, and taking action in spite of all of the fears that have been holding you back. Conquering your innate fears of fire, falling or failing can be a powerful expression of getting past your fear. Are you ready to take that first step?
Image credit © Leonid Eremeychuk/Bigstock