There are certain actions that scare us to the bone but we know we need to do them if we want to change our current circumstances and inch towards an extraordinary life. The best strategy is to face what scares us again and again until the fear evaporates!
My first realization of this way to overcome fears came when I had to work with laboratory mice for the first time. Initially, I was super excited but when the things started to roll, I did get a little scared as I had to work with the most aggressive mice at that time. There came a time, when I had to work on them almost on a daily basis, because my coworker had left the job and I had to take the entire responsibility of the mice colony on my own. It was a lot to handle for me, but as I went ahead and kept working at it, I didn’t even realize when my fear of working with those mice got dissipated. Because I had no choice, I had to do it! And a daily, consistent practice of facing my fear got me desensitized to it.
A couple of years back, I decided I had to take control of my social and dating life. I had been single for a long time, and after getting into personal development, I realized that I can develop myself in this area as well. I started practicing my social skills and would force myself to get into conversations with women everywhere I went. Approaching them, starting a conversation, asking them out, all of it was difficult! But I had a goal to approach a set number of women daily and ask them out if the conversation went well. As days progressed, my social anxiety and fears started disappearing. It became a second nature of me to banter and flirt with them and ask them out. I had put myself in uncomfortable situations, but gradually over time, all my fears and inhibitions were gone because of the desensitization process I went through.
In order to be the person who we want to be and achieve things we desire, we have to do uncomfortable things and be in uncomfortable situations.
Comfort means stagnation.
And we need to make an effort to nudge ourselves outside this comfort zone on a daily basis when we begin, until we reach a stage where we have achieved a great deal of momentum and all our fears have been diminished.
I knew I was good at writing because of the communication skills that I had accrued over time and my love and mastery over the English language and its vocabulary. I had written a short story and some poems previously with positive feedback as well and felt confident about my writing skills. But, a fear loomed over me when I decided to start blogging last year.
I am a perfectionist by nature, and the idea of crafting perfect blog posts, maintaining a perfect website and building a perfect audience was intimidating for me. I was scared not because I could not do it, but because I had this fear inside me that blogging would take a lot of energy out of me, and I would be engulfed with self-doubt and criticism, from myself and other. I had the fear that it would take a huge chunk of my time, and it would be an exhausting endeavor overall.
But I decided to approach it as a Karma Yogi would, and started taking little actions on a daily basis without worrying too much about the outcomes. It started with writing everyday for only 5 – 10 minutes without putting any pressure on myself. I was amazed at my talent and my writing ability at that time, and I knew to my core that I wanted to build this passion. It felt liberating, it felt therapeutic, a way where I could make a great impact on people’s lives if I continued to blog. I rediscovered my passion for writing and cultivated it by doing it every day. Now, all those irrational fears are gone, because I desensitized myself to go through the process again and again. Slowly and steadily, I started few more projects as well and my approach for each of them has been the same.
If we are really passionate about something, and have a strong desire to excel at it, then it’s the path of least resistance for us, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone, taking massive action and making some sacrifices. As Victor Frankl has rightly said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning: “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
Desensitization involves putting ourselves through tons of discomfort and pain in some cases. Hence, it is imperative to know more about ourselves, our core values and what we truly desire. There is no use in putting ourselves through torment for no reason. Suffering, without an intention or meaning, is futile and can be detrimental for our well being.
Having a strong WHY is very important to keep us going. We have to have the big picture in our minds.
Most importantly, once you are desensitized, it’s time to slow down and take it easy. Consistency is what matters, even if you do that activity once a week. The wheel of momentum once started needs little effort to maintain it.
We need to take care of ourselves and be mindful that we’re not putting ourselves through compulsive efforts and unnecessary pain.
Becoming desensitized is important for us to be successful and vital for our personal and professional growth.
Becoming a Karma Yogi is simple but not easy. Figure out what actions you need to take so that you become desensitized to all the fears that have made their homes in your brain. Start your desensitization journey now, even if you feel it’s too late. Better late than never!
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