There have been plenty of times in my life where I’ve failed at something so miserably, I fear even thinking about that failure. I fear processing it. I fear navigating it. I fear even trying again. Although unhealthy, this is a common response: failure becomes an ever-churning fear conditioning as opposed to an opportunity to learn.
Like most emotions, fear is a neurologically complicated one.
To think about it on a rudimental level, fear is an evolutionary-based response to danger. In situations when we don’t believe in our abilities to survive that said moment, fear is basically our brain screaming, “I don’t believe in you right now! I don’t trust that you’ll get through this! Get out while you can!” And sometimes that can be a very helpful emotion, i.e. your instincts to stay far away from lion’s dens or jumping back from oncoming traffic. But sometimes, it can be very debilitating. Sometimes our brains fear situations simply because we can’t predict how we’ll respond to them.
And this is why confidence and risk-taking are so interconnected. If we can tell our brains we do in fact have the ability to execute a new and specific task successfully (or at least that it won’t kill us), we are less likely to be afraid of it.
For Senior Executive, Consultant and Investor, and EXPLO’s Startup Entrepreneurship Instructor, Nicole Chang, it’s just as important to give each other confidence as much as it is to acknowledge confidence in ourselves.
So, the next time you are afraid of something, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If it’s anything short of “getting eaten by lions”, have the confidence and self-trust to be willing to find out.
Explore books, articles, games, and songs that may help you develop your confidence (even in the smallest of ways).
- A young person takes loads of risks; an older person feels that they have taken enough risks already and is sated with their point of development. Resist this.
- This is the perfect video to show what confidence building in real time looks like...
- A new kind of playground safe enough to build confidence and risky enough to keep it that way.
- Fear the messy unknown? Reclaim your creative confidence with this brilliant and simple self-trust builder.
- "The antidote to armoring up is staying curious." How to break down the protective layers you've built throughout your own history of fear.
- Confidence: “We need to learn a calculated form of disrespect and a constructive suspicion of authority.”
Stephanie LaMont + Adam French