When I was about eight years old, I was terrified of roller coasters.
I was afraid to ride them, which sucked because as a family we’d always go to great amusement parks.
The majority of my family would ride these roller coasters.
They loved them.
They would come back and brag about how great they were.
Some of my cousins would be gone for hours as they’d skip the exit and get back in line to ride again and again.
I’d be waiting for hours while they continued to enjoy themselves.
Fear was the sole cause of me missing out on that fun.
Fear Is Natural and There’s Nothing Wrong With It
In fact, it’s one of the reasons why humans have been able to exist for thousands of years.
It’s a survival mechanism.
But even though it may keep us alive on the outside, it leads to death on the inside.
Let me explain…
Fear causes chaos in our minds.
It prevents us from thinking properly.
“If you first rid yourself of hope and fear, you have disarmed the tyrant’s wrath.” —Boethius
A fearful mind is too preoccupied with what it should avoid, that it has no room to think about anything else.
It’s too worried about keeping us in our comfort zones, which is great for survival but terrible for growth.
That’s because we can only grow when we step outside of our comfort zones.
Using Fear As Fuel
Recently I was in Los Angeles working at a YouTube event as a mentor for the NEXTUP creators.
We all had the great opportunity to hear from Becky G and Leroy Sanchez.
They are both phenomenal people, talents, and musicians.
Becky G actually just starred in the newest Power Rangers movie, so I guess she’s an actress now as well.
They told us about how their fears almost prevented them from pursuing music and how they overcame those fears by using them as fuel.
Not only did that fuel allow them to unlock their true potential but had they not overcome those fears then they wouldn’t be who they are today.
They both have interesting stories.
Leroy’s a musician from Spain that sings music in English.
His claim to fame was doing English covers that would garner millions of views.
Here’s one of his biggest ones, you can hear him destroy this Adele cover.
The funny thing is when he recorded this cover he had no idea of what he was saying.
He didn’t actually know English.
He could sing the words but he didn’t know what they actually meant.
But as you can see, he has an amazing voice and he quickly blew up on YouTube.
But like all of us, he had to deal with criticism and hate.
For every thousand positive comments he received, there would be a few negative ones.
That criticism was one of his biggest fears.
It affected him so much that one day he deleted all the videos from his YouTube channel.
Yes, millions of views were gone.
He said that he was done with music.
He allowed fear to control him.
He allowed it to stop him from doing what he loved.
But after he deleted the songs, he received thousands of messages from fans asking him why he did it.
They pleaded with him to reupload the music they loved.
In that moment, he realized that he wasn’t going to allow fear to stop him from doing what he loved.
He wasn’t going to let fear prevent him from reaching the thousands of fans that enjoyed his music.
So he overcame that fear, started posting videos and now uses the criticism as fuel and motivation.
“Becky From The Block”
Becky G’s story is similar.
She grew up in the Inglewood section of Los Angeles.
Even though she’s Mexican, she didn’t speak Spanish that well when she started her career.
But she loved to sing in Spanish (pretty much the opposite of Leroy).
As she got older, and began her music career, she wanted to pursue a career in Spanish music.
But she feared being a Mexican artist that could sing in Spanish but couldn’t speak it.
Not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie Selena but it’s pretty much the same situation.
In the movie, Selena’s dad is afraid for her to do Spanish music.
Because the Mexican press would crucify her for not speaking the language well.
“We gotta to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans.”
Here’s a clip from the movie that explains this perfectly:
Becky had to prepare herself for the same thing, and that was scary.
Being a Spanish artist meant doing interviews in Spanish.
Which is pretty difficult if you don’t speak the language.
Her and her family feared what the media would say, so much, that it almost prevented her from pursuing her Spanish music career.
But she didn’t allow that fear to stop her.
Instead it motivated her to practice her Spanish even more.
She continued her Spanish music and — although her Spanish still isn’t perfect — she’s one of the biggest Latina stars today.
Recently she had a video hit over 1 billion views and has another one creeping up to a billion.
It’s Clear That We Must Overcome Our Fears
I talked about my fear of roller coasters earlier, and I remember the time I finally overcame that fear.
I decided to get on a roller coaster.
As we were going up the hill, I was petrified.
It seemed like it took forever to reach the top.
Once we reached the top, everything stopped for a split second and then we flew down.
My adrenaline took over.
My fear was gone.
I was laughing, screaming and high fiving my cousins.
They were so excited to have me on the ride with them.
After the ride was over I wanted to immediately get back in line and do it again.
I had taken action.
I no longer feared roller coasters.
When I look back, I think about all those moments I missed out on simply because I was afraid for nothing.
We allow our fears to imprison us.
We don’t do things because we are afraid, without realizing that fear is just a manifestation of our minds.
The fear doesn’t really exist.
It’s just an idea that our mind has created with the intentions of keeping us safe.
So it controls our thoughts and actions, and keeps us in that “box” which is our comfort zone.
But we need to take control of our minds so that we can step outside of that box because that’s the only place where growth can be realized.
Aware & Identify
So the first step to overcoming fear is to become aware of it and identify it.
What are you actually afraid of?
Think about your biggest fear.
Why are you scared of it?
What’s preventing you from overcoming it?
What’s going to happen if you don’t overcome it?
What opportunities are not going to open themselves up to you?
What are you missing out on because of your fear?
If you’re Becky G or Leroy Sanchez then you’re missing out on millions of dollars and on doing what you love.
If you’re me, you’re missing out on amazing experiences with your family.
Now that you’re aware of your fears, write them down so that you can see them.
When they’re just in your mind, they take on lives of their own and become beasts that can’t be contained.
They become bigger than they really are.
Writing them down on paper helps you see them for what they really are.
The Next Step Is To Take Action
Try to overcome those fears.
For me, it was getting on that roller coaster for the first time.
For Becky G and Leroy it was continuing to do music because that’s what they love.
It didn’t matter what other people were saying.
So find your fear, identify it, write it down then think about how you can take action to overcome that fear.
My mom is afraid to fly in airplanes.
But she still gets on them because she knows that if she doesn’t then she’s going to miss out on the experience that can only be had if she overcomes the fear.
Recently we took a trip to the Bahamas and had an amazing time together.
Had she let that fear of flying overcome her then she wouldn’t have been able to experience the trip.
Those are memories that last a lifetime.
Focus on the good that can come from overcoming the fear and not fear itself.
Realize the fear is just created in your mind.
It doesn’t exist and you disarm it of its power over you by taking action.
What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
If you find yourself having trouble taking action then think about what’s the worst that can happen.
I know in some situations the worst is death, serious injury, or destroying a relationship…
And those fears need a little bit more thought.
But be honest with yourself…
Overcoming the majority of fears that you face on a daily basis won’t result in those consequences.
Lastly, you should try to do something you’re scared of every single day or as often as possible.
Yes, this means you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone.
But that should motivate you because it means you’ll open yourself up for growth.
Remember, staying in your comfort zone prevents you from reaching any of your goals.
It prevents you from reaching unknown potentials.
Every successful person in the world had to overcome fear at some point in their lives.
Had they not then they wouldn’t be what they are today.
The biggest breakthroughs we can make will only happen when we decide to step outside of our comfort zones.
To do that, we’re going to have to attack fear head-on.
Life is a journey of never-ending growth and the growth happens when we step outside of our comfort zones.
The goal is to expand our comfort zones into the uncomfortable areas.
When we do this, we grow and open ourselves up to new uncomfortable areas that are waiting to be conquered.
When we stop allowing fear to control us—and instead use it as fuel for achievement—we are far better off.
I hope this article was helpful!
I recently wrote a very in-depth article on how we can Become “Limitless” by making a few simple tweaks to our habits.
Although the tweaks are small and simple the effects can be enormous.