Fear and paralysis stand between you and success

Photo: Tom Schöntaube / Ideas Inspire Action

Here’s my story, explaining my relationship with fear, and overcoming it.

I studied in Berlin in 2012, with no real idea about where I was going or what I really wanted to do. I was studying hard but with no specific goal in mind.

While playing football, I got a knee injury. A cruciate ligament rupture, not usually very serious. But, 3 weeks after the operation, I had a very high fever and went back to the hospital. The doctor said that my knee had been infected during surgery and that in some cases, they need to take the leg off.

Sitting there in that hospital, thinking about losing my leg, I realised that life is very precious and that we get one shot at it. 

I was lucky, and got to keep my leg!

That was the moment though, that I decided I was no longer going to let fear and over analysis guide me. Instead, I vowed to make the most of every single moment of my precious life.

Here, you’ll read about shifting your mindset in ways that can really help you. And to be honest, I’m preaching to myself here too. Reminding myself to keep fighting fear and taking action.

1) You only have one life.

Now, corona-virus makes life seem even more precious than before. People are re-evaluating life choices, careers and even friendships.

If you think back to your last year:

  • How many new things did you do?
  • How many new things would you have done if fear and paralysis hadn’t stopped you?
  • How many things would you have done if you’d not over analysed them?

How many people do you know that talk about their next holiday, desperately counting down days and hours for it to come…… “only 3 weeks left before I go on my holiday”…… during that countdown, life is passing you by, you’re wishing the days away. That’s sad when you think about it. Every day, every hour, is precious time. So make sure it all counts. Spend every moment of that time doing something you love as much as your holidays!

2) You grow with your challenges. Yes, really!

When beating your challenges hurts, you grow. In the same way that physical and mental challenges hurt, so does overcoming fear. Meeting those challenges head on is what separates the fit, sporty, smart people from the lazy and complacent people.  And the same holds true for overcoming fear.

But your fit body and great education doesn’t help if you don’t apply your skills aggressively. Never hold back because of fear.

3) Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Do it step by step, small bites at a big challenge, not all at once. I couldn’t do everything immediately, but I created steps to a tangible end goal.

Imagine your long term goal is to create a wonderful home for elderly people.

Instead of going all in:

  • buying or renting a big building
  • hiring expertise 
  • committing finance

Start with tiny steps:

  • help your grandparents and grandparents of your friends
  • offer small entertainment or care services for them
  • discover the problems and their solutions
  • grow your knowledge and expertise
  • hire 2 or 3 people to help you

Over time, you gather the resources and knowledge you need to create a splendid care home. You don’t need to jump into everything with all your time and money.

4) Finally, remember about all the times you did overcome your fears. How thrilled, elated and enriched you felt:

The degree you laboured for and achieved.

That girl you dared to ask for a date.

The new and exciting hobby you started.

That job application you masterfully wrote.

Many if not all those things feel uncomfortable and you had some level of fear. But you overcame it. Sometimes it didn’t work out but other times it did. You tried, and it was always going to be better than doing nothing.

If only one thing you try works then that could be enough.

Life is precious and you only have one run at it.

Imagine you have a most amazing idea. Instead of being overwhelmed by all the variables, risks and obstacles, you press on….. small step by small step, despite all your fear and uncertainty. You achieve your goal… you’ve lived a very satisfying life!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Listen to my podcast where I talk about similar topics and where I talk to some incredible people, who’ve overcome fear to achieve their goals.

Cheers guys –  take action!

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