As a teenager, one of my biggest fears was lack of confidence. I was an introvert, and the thought of interacting or being present among a group of strangers really scared the hell out of me.I had several friends who were extrovert, and could start a conversation with anyone, within no time. I longed to be like them. At that time, this was the No.1 priority for me – to get rid of this fear.
However, I did realize that certain behaviors can be learnt, but most are natural, it’s part of your DNA. I don’t think even today, I could be as spontaneous, as I would like to be, and have simply accepted that. However there are lot of other things which can be overcome.
So this fear of being among strangers, and being conscious, was bothering me. I wanted to overcome it desperately. So what did I do? Instead of accepting this as a trait for the rest of my life, I started confronting the fear head on. I volunteered to face this fear repeatedly .
I used to go for church, every Sunday. And during the mass, we receive communion. For this, all the people who gathered, form a queue and move toward the front of the church, the priest hands over the holy bread. We are supposed to receive it, and go back to our places.
So low was my confidence, that walking back to my place, after receiving communion, was an ordeal, as it meant that I had to walk a long distance facing the people sitting on both sides, staring at me. Yes, they were not actually staring at me at all ( in all probability they didn’t even know I existed) . But my mind, thought otherwise. I was super conscious. ”What are they thinking of me”. ‘Have I not tucked my shirt properly’, “Why is this person laughing, is it for me?
So this activity of walking back was a dreadful event. The only consolation was that since there are people ahead, and behind you in the queue, somehow you hope that you are not being stared at.
But one good thing about me, was that I always liked to come up with interesting solutions. And because, I wanted to get rid of this fear I thought of an idea.
So one day, I decided to take this fear head on. I decided to make myself more uncomfortable. I now decided that I would be the last person to receive communion. Since now there is no person behind me, technically I have the most time people would look at, as I return.
So in the beginning, it was awkward for sure, since now I know for sure, that everybody is watching me, and I became more conscious. However over a period of time, it was OK. I was somehow able to overcome the fear in few months, until it became normal.
Even today I do the same. It’s more of a habit. There is no fear associated with this thing now, even though I can’t say I enjoy it very much. However I have been able to overcome the fear which once gripped me.
This instance has taught me a very important lesson.
That the more you face the fear, the better the chance you can handle and probably overcome it. Just running away from it, would have made it worse and I could have never gotten over it. Also an important point is that once you manage to face the fear, regardless of the outcome, it makes you proud of yourself
Turning entrepreneur, was also about getting over my fear of taking the road less traveled. You wanted to take this path, but because you are not sure what’s in store, you keep postponing it. Sometimes you never ever make that decision. You just don’t get the courage.
But once you decide to take this fear head on, you realize it’s not that difficult as it seems.
It made me realize that having the courage to face one’s fear, is a bigger challenge and victory than fear itself. If we can ingrain this thought and take actions accordingly, we would conquer lot more goals in our life.
And live a remarkable life.