• Sarah

How to Overcome Fear and Take Action

Updated: Nov 30, 2018


"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." - Napoleon Hill


Confidence in our own ability and our ability to make good decisions leads to action. So how can we increase our self-confidence?


The development of self-confidence starts with the elimination of fear.


"Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm."


"You can't do it - you are afraid to try - you are afraid of public opinion - you are afraid that you will fail - you are afraid you have not the ability."


Do any of these sounds familiar? These are thoughts which often enter our mind. If we listen to these thoughts they can stop us from doing the things we want to do the most. They can steal our confidence and self belief and make it too easy to stay in a comfortable safe zone which leads to dissatisfaction and potential regret later on in life.


Napoleon Hill, in his book - ‘Think and grow rich’ addresses six fears and talks about how to experience happiness and success we need to learn how to overcome each of these fears.


The Six Basic Fears Of Mankind

Every person falls to the influence of six basic fears. Under these six fears may be listed the lesser fears.


The six basic fears are:

1. The fear of Poverty

2. The fear of Old Age

3. The fear of Criticism

4. The fear of Loss of Love of Someone

5. The fear of Ill-Health

6. The fear of Death


Let’s look at the 6 fears in a bit more detail how you can overcome them.


1.The Fear of Poverty

The fear of poverty grew out of man's inherited tendency to prey upon his fellow man economically. Most forms of animals have instinct but appear not to have the power to reason and think; therefore, they prey upon one another physically. However, us humans cannot eat fellow humans so we compete with each other financially.

"Society" could quite properly be spelled "$ociety," because it is inseparably associated with the dollar mark. So eager are we as humans to possess wealth that it can lead to people acquiring more wealth in whatever manner they can which can lead to a lack of job satisfaction.


Example lesser fears

Fear of quitting your job and starting your own business

Fear of moving to a job that is more satisfying but means less money


How to overcome this fear?

Napoleon’s advice: Firstly firmly decide that you will accumulate wealth responsibly and be happy with how you earn a living. Secondly, decide that you will happily get along with the amount of wealth you are able to accumulate in this way. Swallow your ego and stop judging others (and yourself) on the size of a pay check. Living a more humble life allows us to get by on much less than we think we might need.


2.The Fear of Old Age

This fear grows out of two sources. First, the thought that old age may bring with it suffering. Secondly, and by far the most common source of origin that old age will lead to death which traditionally has been associated with heaven / hell.


Example lesser fears

Fear of feeling / being called old

Fear of people knowing your age


How to overcome this fear?

Decide to accept old age as a blessing … remember that many people have not even had the privilege of reaching old age. Also decide to be grateful for the wisdom and experience that comes through age alone.


3. The Fear of Criticism

It’s hard to determine the source of this fear but one thing is certain, it’s well developed. Some believe that this fear made its appearance in the mind of man about the time that politics came into existence. The fear of Criticism takes on many different forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial in nature, even to the extent of being childish in the extreme.


Example lesser fears

Fear of public speaking

Fear of receiving feedback


How to overcome this fear?

Decide not to worry about what others think of you and don’t take things personally. In reality, most people are so busy thinking about themselves that they don’t even notice others most of the time.


4. The fear of Loss of Love of Someone

There can be but little doubt that jealousy and all other similar emotions grew out of man's inherited fear of the Loss of Love of Someone. This fear plays more havoc with the human mind than do any of the other six basic fears, which is why it can lead to more violent forms of action than the other fears.


Example lesser fears

Fear of being cheated on

Fear of your partner having friends of the opposite sex


How to overcome this fear?

Decide to enjoy and value the love you receive and to love back in return with as much love as you can. Also, decide to happily get along without love if the situation occurs where you have to do that.


5. The fear of Ill-Health

This fear has its origin, to a considerable extent, in the same sources as the fears of Old Age and Death.


Example lesser fears

Fear of germs

Fear of getting fat


How to overcome this fear?

Decide to no longer focus on diseases and their associated symptoms. Don’t unnecessarily fill your mind with pictures of real or imagined diseases. Decide to focus on living in health, instead of focusing on the avoidance of any and every disease.


6. The Fear of Death

To many this is the worst of all the six basic fears. Why? No man knows, and no man has ever known, what heaven or hell is like, or even if such places exist, and this very lack of definite knowledge opens the door of the human mind to fear.


Example lesser fears

Fear of spiders

Fear of heights


How to overcome this fear?

Decide to accept and make peace with death as an inescapable event. It is the only thing in life that is certain. We will all die at some point. Use death as a motivator to fearless life true to yourself!


What now?


Identify the fear, overcome the fear, take action!

Identify what fears in life are stopping you from taking action. These might be different from the fears above, they might be ‘lesser fears’. Once you’ve made a note of those fears study the list above and then ascertain under which of the six headings you can classify them and therefore understand how you can overcome the fear. Recognising fear in this way can help you take control of fear, eliminate doubt and make decisions in life with confidence.

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