Overcoming Fears Under The Barbell, And Beyond

Fear exists everywhere. Whether we like to admit it or not, everyone has worries, anxieties, and things that scare them. Whether it be something as simple as a fear of heights, to something like the fear of chasing a dream career, it exists to some degree within all of us. It is often the main reason why we don’t take the action that we most desire to take in life, and can therefore lead to anger, regret, depression and even more fear as a result. People can be stuck in this cycle of scarcity for their whole lives, because they never really confront their fears head on. Instead, they choose to run from them, which inevitably leads to more unhappiness.

Fear is a biological reaction to being exposed to uncomfortable circumstances or surroundings, and can arise in a multitude of areas– in relationships, in our careers, or during physical or mental challenges, to name a few. The problem is, most people would rather ignore, deny, or push fear under the carpet so they never have to confront it head on. The idea of naming, shaming, and overcoming their fears does not even enter their consciousness. This, I believe, is the sole reason for many people’s pessimistic attitudes that are intoxicating our society today. If you never confront your demons, they’re just going to consume you even more, and turn you into a bitter, jealous, resentful person. People that confront, and overcome their fears however, are often passionate, abundant, joyful people, because they have taken action, and grown as individuals as a result. They refuse to settle for mediocrity, and embrace their fears – as this is just another way to grow, learn and progress as a human being.

“The cave that you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek”- Joseph Campbell

When embarking on a journey to pursue our passions, we often come up against the fear of failure. It cripples us to the point where we don’t live up to our true potential, or don’t even take the action that we desired to in the first place. We worry about what other people will think of our actions, what the possible repercussions of our actions will be, and how we will cope after it all goes wrong and we inevitably ‘fail’.

Immersing yourself head first into your fears is the quickest way of diminishing any self doubt, and prevents you from letting negativity flood your mind and lessen your ideas of what can be possible. And guess what, whether or not you accomplish the goal that you have fantasised about is almost irrelevant now, because you have taken rapid action, and found out first hand whether you were successful or not. That’s not failure; the only real failure can come from not taking action. Not having the confidence to do what you desire is what gets you down. Having the courage to confront a fear is always an incredible learning process, and will serve you well in the long run anyway, regardless of the initial result.

Most people live their lives as if they have absolutely no control over it. Rather than living, they merely exist. They are more than happy to float along the river of mediocrity – never really challenging themselves, and never really confronting the things that scare them. These people are doomed for an average life. The most effective way to overcome your fears is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations as much as possible.

“But we are nervous, men say. Of course we are nervous! We are moving out of our comfort zone. This is marvelous, don’t you see? Nothing wonderful is ever accomplished without the willingness to look foolish or risk failure”- Zan Perrion

I believe that this what draws many people to the weights. The desire for progression. The hunger to overcome fears, adapt and grow. Throwing yourself out of your comfort zone, and seeing what you’re truly made of physically and mentally. To me, the experience of putting heavy weight on your back, squatting down with it, and successfully standing back up with it, is the conquering and demolition of fear epitomised. Equally, being crushed by heavy weight humbles you. It teaches you discipline, it teaches you ethics, and it teaches you to never give up in the face of adversity. Although I do desire to be as strong as I possibly can, it seems almost superficial when I consider the deeper benefits that strength training gives me. The mental strength I attain. The weights are, and will forever be my greatest teacher.

“The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back”– Henry Rollins

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