How I stopped having fears of trying new things

A few years ago, Mathilde decided to live abroad. I met Mathilde in high school and we don’t talk anymore. It’s just life, there is no reason, but I keep our conversations in mind. Mathilde is a young lady, really sweet and quiet. A bit discreet but really brave. When I think about her again, I realized that I learned a lot from her. But why do I talk about Mathilde ? Only because she is the one thanks to I am not scared to do new things. I’ll tell you how.

I can’t remember when we had this conversation. Was it before she moved abroad or was it when she came back to France for a few weeks ? Anyways, it was during summer and we were talking outside. At some point, I don’t know how, we started talking about how brave you need to be to do new things. I really can’t remember why we ended up talking about it, but it was one of the most important conversations I’ve ever had.

The fear of trying new things

Fear is why we don’t do things. When you are stuck in a situation, it’s because you are scared. Not knowing what will happen, not being able to control what’s next are perfect reasons to … do nothing. We always find excuses, but in real life, it’s all about fear.

If you think about it, you will realize that every time you didn’t take an opportunity was because you had feared. Maybe you were scared because you didn’t feel that you could do it. Or maybe you were scared of being disappointed with yourself. Most of the time, we think about the worst before thinking about the best.

I’ve never applied abroad because I was afraid of not being recruited, of not being able to survive in an English speaking country. Obviously, I’ve never said it. But I know that, deep inside, I didn’t do it before only because I was really afraid.

So, this day, with Mathilde, we were talking about her choice. Obviously, she was scared but she was smart enough to deal with what she felt. And so, one day, she was talking about this fear with someone and this someone told her a sentence I’ve never forgot.

A magic formula

It’s summer and it’s really hot. We were sitting on my terrace, drinking Coke and smoking cigarettes. And so she repeats me what someone told us before. It’s really easy, she just said And in the worst case ? In the worst case, we will die ! and that’s it.

At that time, it’s like everything makes sense. Suddenly, I realize that the worst thing that can happen to me is to die… I know, death scares a lot of people but it actually makes me feel better. This sentence helped me a lot when it was time to move to Kuwait.

I had an interview with the director of the school, I wore my favorite shirt with a sweatpants. I had the perfect make up and my hair was done even if I stayed at home all day long. And then, he says that he is OK to have me in his team, and I tell him that I need to think about it.

And then, only fears.

One thousand questions.

Will I survive in a country where nobody speaks french ? Will I be good enough for this job ? Will I survive without my mom ? Will I make some friends ? Will I, will I, will I ?

And, because my fears are not enough, my parents give me theirs. Do you know how much is a rent ? Do you think you will save money ?

And, because it’s not enough, my friends come with their fears too. Are women free in Kuwait  ? Will you have to wear the hijab ? Will you be able to drive ? Will you be safe and free in Kuwait ?

My brain is full of questions. And the worst thing is : I don’t have any answers. I can’t even imagine answers. I have no idea about where I am going.

And at some point, I just sit and think about it. In the worst case, what ? Well, in the worst case, I will die.

In fact, yes, in the worst case, I die. And just before this, the worst thing is me going back to France. And that’s it. The worst thing is just taking a flight and going back to France.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

Forget about the fear to see the positive aspects

So, when you think about the worst thing that can happen, you have enough space in your brain to think about the good things. So, in the worst case, you die.

And, in the best case ?

In the best case, a lot of things… Because even if it doesn’t go the way we want, we will grow up thanks to what we’ve tried. So, when we delete the worst, the death, well, only stays the positive.

If I talk again about my experience in Kuwait. Let’s say, I came back. After one year, it didn’t work and so I had to go back to France. Most of the time, people will see it as a fail, right ? But let’s see in another way. In reality, I would have learned that living abroad is not for me. Or maybe only the country. Or being a teacher is not for me. I would have learned something from this “worst”. So ? It wasn’t that bad.

Fear makes you freeze.

Our brain is really strong to protect yourself from everything, including the best. We are lucky because we can change it easily. We just have to program our brain in another way. Believe it or no, it’s not that hard to be fearless and try whatever we want. Especially things that look impossible.

So, what can we do to be fearless ?

So, basically, we have to program our brain in another way. Most of the time, how we live today is the mirror of how we were educated. In France, it’s not well see to try new things and to take risks. I feel that it’s better to stay in your comfort zone. Nothing to gain, but nothing to lose too.

Here in Kuwait, I feel like everybody tries without any fear. I realized that, most of the time, Kuwaitis are not scared of trying new things. Maybe it’s because they are well surrounded or kind of assisted sometimes. But in general, they are confident. They are confident and they don’t know that they are. You can easily meet a Kuwaiti who starts his business when, in France, we spend ten years thinking about what we will earn and what we will lose.

So, observing how Kuwaitis live and based on my own experiences, here are five tips to not be scared anymore.

1 – Think about the worst thing that can happen.

Instead of asking yourself one hundred questions without having any answers, just stay focus on what is the worst thing that can happen. In every case, the worst is death. Everything looks small compared to death.

2 – Transform bad things in good ones

As I wrote before, every fails are lessons learned. For example, you want to see a movie. You read the reviews. 50% say it’s the worst movie ever and the other 50% say it’s the best. You, what you do ? You watch it and see what do you think about it.

When you watch the movie, you can make your own opinion on it. Trying new things will help you to have answers for future choices. You want to launch your own business ? If it works, good ! If not, it’s ok, you will learn how a business works. And you will learn a lot about yourself. And next time, it will be better.

3 – Think about the best instead of thinking about the worst.

Without thinking too far, think about what good can happen. At the beginning, it will be hard to find a long list because, unfortunately, we are used to see the worst. But do it. Make a list of what good can happen to you. In the best case, you will : be really rich, be really happy, love what you do… The list can be really long !

4 – Never forget : you will always win.

I think you know it, but I decided to run a half-marathon in November. I have to confess, if I listen to myself, I am so so scared. Scared of being in pain, scared of to not be able to finish it… I have a lot of fears.

But when I think about it, I know that at the end, I win. I win because I tried. I tried, and only for this, I am proud of myself.

It’s the same for everything you will try. You can be proud, only because you tried. If you are honest with yourself, trying is already wining.

5 – Do it !

The last and best advice I can give you is : do it ! I promise, nothing really bad will happen.

Obviously, I am not talking about dangerous things ! Don’t try to jump in a fire or to drive the highway in the wrong way… You will die for sure, and believe me, it’s not what we want !

You, tell me ! Are you paralyzed by fears ? Or you love to try new things ?


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  1. 1

    I used to be Mathilde. Growing up, we moved around so much, it became my normal. I went from shy introvert to daring extrovert. If I wanted to go somewhere else, I’d go. I’d figure things out along the way. Somewhere along the way I lost it, but two years ago I got it back. Moved to Hungary, a place I’d known and loved in college. Things didn’t work out, and I plotted my escape. It was either Bordeaux, or back to Finland (where I’d been before Hungary). Still didn’t have enough money, but I started looking for apartments and found one. Wasn’t sure how I’d make the following month’s rent, but I told myself I’d figure it out. It had to work, so I could give others hope. Had a job all set up, and it fell through at the last minute. Long story short, I’m not saying that I made it 100%, but I think I can survive somehow. As long as I think positive. Fear paralyzes us completely. I hope I put it aside. And now I know that I can ask for help, and where. So, like you said, win-win. And the part about dying is brilliant advice! 🙂

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