Why does starting something new cause anxiety? After all, we all appreciate new items like freshly cobbled shoes, or a piece of shiny new jewelry or the opportunity to work at a new job.
So, why do we have tremors when we are confronted with initiating a project or a starting a new phase of life?
Scientific research findings could just provide the answers you seek. For one, the fear of starting something new can be chiseled down to the fear of the unknown; having no knowledge/idea of what lies beyond the perimeter of your known world.
Since you do not know what issues may arise from say moving abroad or changing your career path, your mind thinks up a thousand and one possible outcomes, which usually border on negativity. As a result, the mind puts up a defensive mechanism that shuts down the powers of imagination and initiative, where the only available options you have, are to recoil into your shell and do nothing at all or stay your earlier course.
Do you know there are many reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new?
Another veritable reason people entertain fears of staring something new, which is closely related to the fear of the unknown, is the fear of failing at that new task or project.
However, there are schools of thought that propound that the fear of the unknown and all other associated fears, can actually be the catalysts by which you can reap boundless energy from. In order words, these fears can unlock several mentalities in you, which include surviving, exploring and being pragmatic.
Therefore, to beat the fear of starting something new, the following suggestions will put you in good stead:
1. Be Prepared
You can draw inspiration from this timeless motto of both the Boys’ Scout and the Girls’ Guide movements, “Be prepared”. These movements for young ones actually live this motto in their daily dealings whereby these kids are taught and primed with necessary training and skill acquisitions, in order to face whatever challenges they encounter at camp meetings or hiking.
The lessons here apply to you as well. Do you want to migrate to another country? Then you will do well to immerse yourself in the way of life of the natives in that country: learn the language; understand the ramifications of their culture and societal norms. Do you want to write a book?
You can join author groups and workshops as well as carry out detailed study of the way writers carry out their muse. With adequate preparation, you still may not be able to foretell what that new move will bring, but you will be brimming with a certain confidence that you will be able to navigate the waters of any uncertainty.
2. See Failure as a Means to an End, not an End in Itself
You already know that the possibility of stuttering at your new task exists. After all, you have never done anything like it before. However, when failure stunts your ability to keep at your new task, then it becomes a problem.
So, you must re-orientate your mind to view failing as an opportunity to start a certain step again; howbeit more intelligently, with you having picked up lessons from the reasons you faltered at, that point. In this way, you will embrace failure as a friend, rather than a foe, which is there to help you reach your goal, in the shortest time and in the smartest ways possible.
3. Incorporate Lessons from other Experiences
Who says that starting something new has to be done blindly? You can gain leverage in starting that new task when you pivot on the experiences of others, who were at the same point as you are in now.
There’s a plethora of resources documenting the trajectories of people who started from scratch, armed with the barest of means/resources. You can draw from their strategies for success and their recipe for dealing with setbacks.
Although there could be differences pertaining to the type of projects started and the level of difficulties surmounted, the bottom line is that you can draw parallels from their experiences and integrate those aspects that fit into your own realities.
4. Start Immediately
Does the word procrastination ring a bell? Of course it does, because it causes you to always put off staring that project or writing that book or learning a new language. You will also be familiar with terms that go along with procrastinating such as “the timing is not right”, “I do not have all that I need”, or “I will give it a shot next week”.
All these excuses will only serve to dampen your resolve, to such a point that you lose the reason(s) that made you want to start initially. You must understand that there can never be a perfect time or place or season to start that project. The forces of fate and nature more often than not, align with the individual who takes the bull by the horn and takes the first and most important steps.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, history has shown that individuals and nations that effected great change in the world were people who beat the fear of starting something new. If they could do it, so can you!