Everything you want is on the other side of fear. – Jack Canfield
A Short History about My Fear of Driving
At 2005, I came out from college and started my career at a reputed IT organization. The office was very far away from my place. And I started to travel long hours using public transportation.
Long distance travel was not new to me. However, until then I always used the transportation facility provided by my college. So it was never a problem for me. But public transportation at my place is worse. It is a sheer harassment.
I struggled. Waiting for buses/trains and the hopeless crowd for everything made me sick. I wanted to learn bike and go to office on my own. That sounded as a best solution.
I was excited. Soon I felt better because the travel harassment is going to stop soon. I badly want to put an end to it. I told this to my parents. Next week, a brand new two-wheeler was adorning my home.
Next comes the tough point which I failed to think during the initial excitement of buying a vehicle. That is to actually learn and ride it! I got the learner driving license and began to learn driving on early mornings.
Initially I was very excited that I am going to learn to ride. My father and brother helped me to teach it. I started to learn driving. Even though the bike was very heavy for me, I really enjoyed riding it.
Then one day I finally I crashed it on a person and he fell down. Thankfully, no injuries to the man and he was fine. But it instilled a huge fear that I am going to crash it on someone and going to hurt them.
After that incident, every time I took the bike out, I was paralyzed in fear. The fear of injuring someone by crashing it, or injuring myself by falling down made me sacred to death.
I stopped to drive it. I continued to travel on the overcrowded buses and trains. After that episode I tried to ride bike for couple of times. Both were unsuccessful. I can always ride in empty streets. But amidst vehicles and people, the fear gripped me and made me to do nothing.
From 2005 to 2014, I worked on many locations for my company and had to undergo brutal long distance travels (nearly 6 hours to and fro), but nothing could persuade me to drop the fear and ride the damn thing to save my pain.
At 2015, after my husband moved to abroad, once again I struggled to use public transport. Besides my daughter would throw tantrum if I attempt to take her on crowded buses. So I started again to learn driving.
It was very tough to get rid of that fear. But this time I had no choice. To survive without my husband and to take care of my daughter I learnt it. Necessity made me to finally drop the fear. Finally I got the driving license last month.
The point here is, it took 15 years to drop that unreasonable fear and do what I wanted. Now driving has saved so much of pain and hassle on my life. Yet it has taken so long for me to actually do it. Why? FEAR
If my simple fear could ruin so much of life think about endless fears we have on life and how much it is stopping us from living the life we want. Fear can literally ruin your chances of success and paralyze your life. It will simply stop you from making any progress and make you procrastinate.
To do anything you want to life, it is very essential to drop the fear at the initial stages itself. In my case, I am never going to get back those 15 years of wasted time on buses and trains without knowing how to drive.
What are the benefits of conquering the fear of failure?
Below are the four major benefits you will attain by conquering your fears.
You gain courage and confidence:
When you conquer fear, you learn to act courageous. As a famous saying goes, courage is not the absence of fear, it is our ability to face the fear and overcome it.
Overcoming fear also increases the confidence in you. Next time if a new fear crops up, you will find yourself saying, I have overcome this before, so I can repeat it again.
It is contagious:
Once I started to drive my two-wheeler after dropping the fear, I learnt car driving immediately. So if you learn to overcome one fear, soon you can come out of many of your irrational fears and anxiety. It is contagious.
A successful way of living:
Over coming fear is the only way to success. We will always be hindered by negative thoughts and fear, whenever we begin anything new in life. Only by learning to come out of it, we can be successful on whatever we set out to do.
It saves energy and time:
Can you see how much energy and time I have wasted on those 15 years of ruthless travel each day? All these could have been saved if I had only dropped my one fear. So overcoming fear will save your energy and time lifelong.
Tips to Conquer the Fear
Here are the few tips that I used to conquer fear while driving. You can use them to overcome any fear.
Accept the fear
Let’s accept that you are gripped by fear. Without understanding this you cannot move forward. Only if you understand your thoughts and why you fear so, you can work on the solutions to overcome it.
Do and face the fear
Once you understand that you fear something, it is time to do the thing you fear the most. There is simply no other way. We need to do and face the things we fear the most, if we need to come out of it.
When you are paralyzed on your first attempt to do the things you fear, try deep breathing.
Breathing helps you to calm down and relax. Once you are calm down, you can think better. Do you know why women are asked to take deep breaths during the delivery of baby?
It is just to calm down and make the women face the fear of delivering a baby. The same can be applied to any situation.
Practice few practice affirmations that you can say to yourself when you are in the clutch of fear. For example whenever I cross a vehicle, initially I would tell myself,
- That’s okay. I can ride it.
- I can handle this. I won’t hit anyone.
- I know this is hard. But only if I learn to do this, I can save the pain of travelling in public transport.
Positive affirmations will send positive signals to your brain and help you to relax.
Remove the mental blockage
Most of the fear is irrational and just conceived by the mind. Do you remember the white ghost that came scaring us when we are kids? If you recollect that now, can you see how irrational we are to think of those fantasies and fearing it for every night? Same with other fears too.
Try to remove your mental blockage and change the mind-set. I always fear that I will injure someone when I drive. But that’s not true. So every day I practiced to convince myself with a positive statement ‘See today I didn’t fall down or injured anyone. I don’t have to fear driving and ruin everything’.
Soon I removed that mental blockage and it helped me to think clearly.
Writing down the fear
Take a pen and paper. Ask yourself questions like how you would be questioned in counseling sessions.
- What is that stopping you from doing the things you want?
- Why you fear it?
- What is the cause of that fear?
- Does it sound rational?
- How you can learn to overcome it?
- Next time when the incident you feared upon actually happens in your life, how are going to handle it?
All these will help you to find the root cause of the problem and come up with solutions to overcome fear.
Visualize the success
This technique has brought powerful changes on me. Whenever I am scared, I always think of a positive picture on how I would look, if only, I learn to let go of the fear and continue to do what needs to be done.
As soon as I start seeing a happy picture of me riding a vehicle with my daughter, I get relaxed and want to learn it without spoiling everything because of my senseless fear.
Prove it to yourself once
It all takes just one attempt to do it and prove it to yourself that fear is not logical. If I could overcome and succeed it once, I don’t have to bother about it again.
Proving it to yourself once, will make you understand how unreasonably we avoid doing something that matters to us the most, because of the fear of failure.
Create a plan to combat fear
Write down a plan to combat the fear. Write down your fears, your ideal response in the moment of fear, and then write down what the actual logical response you should be doing.
For example when I learnt driving, I got scared whenever I see a bus very nearby. Immediately I will think that I am going to hit it. This is totally insane.
So the ideal response to this situation should be..’Yes a bus is coming nearby, but I can simply slow down and ride on the corner till the bus moves forward, that way I will be safe’.
Writing down all these in a paper and creating an action plan will actually help you to handle these situation a lot better in real life.
The only thing that we should fear on our life is the evil fear itself. Take a look at my life. A simple fear ruined my life and made me waste so much time on travel.
If getting rid of a simple fear can make my life better, think about overcoming every fear we come across each day. This is going to unleash plenty of opportunities and success in our life. So, next time when you fear, please face it and be done with it. No excuses and procrastination!!!