Fear is the ultimate deterrent to expanding your personal boundaries. Running a marathon, speaking in public, or voicing your opinion can all cause an increase in anxiety. If you can visualize yourself completing the goal, then you are already halfway there. Instead of allowing fear to control your life, let it be a compass to guide you to the places you need to go. Fear is the first step of acknowledging what you truly want to do.
Being a spectator of UFC mixed martial arts fights on TV; I decided that I wanted to try a mixed martial arts class. After searching for a MMA gym in my area, I finally decided to try Gracie South. It took me at least three weeks to actually go inside to ask about a membership. I would ride by the gym in my car terrified about stopping to go inside. I would tell myself that I couldn’t do it or whatever excuse sounded good enough to prevent me from going. When I finally did go in to inquire about class, it was fairly easy and the owner was very nice. He invited me to a free class the next week.
Pulling up to the parking lot that night I was extremely nervous. I didn’t know who I would meet or what it would be like. However, going through that class changed my life. I not only learned about jiu jitsu, grappling, and kickboxing I learned about life, myself, and the world as a whole.
1. New experiences yield new knowledge.
What keeps you from trying new things is the fear of unlocking your hidden potential. You become comfortable with the status quo and uncomfortable in expanding your personal power. Moving into new situations makes old situations harder to return to. Through regularly attending mixed martial arts classes, I learned that I was stronger and more capable than I ever thought I was. It was the first time that I ever felt affirmation about myself as a person, and not because of my occupation or personal characteristics.
2. Introduction to a new social network.
Routine can keep you around the same group of people. This circle will continuously remind you about past events or keep reminding you about the person you used to be. The people I met attending MMA classes were people just like me, seeking to improve themselves no matter their status in life. Through talking to the other members, I realized that everyone struggles with personal weaknesses. By talking to new people, you experience new viewpoints on life.
3. Improvement in self-image.
What keeps you bound by fear is the negativity that you believe about yourself. Each new experience causes you to question your own abilities. Since I am short, I have typically viewed my height as a hindrance in how I feel about myself. People in class were shorter, taller, and more muscular than I was. That did not matter. Each one of us possessed strengths that the other did not have. Embracing your own individuality can help improve the way that you feel about yourself. I learned that excuses had no merit. For every excuse I constructed, there was someone else doing more with less than I had. I had a new appreciation for people, and had no tolerance to hear frivolous complaining from people outside the gym.
4. Knowledge can be transferred to other areas in your life.
With each experience that you encounter, it is not only for you to experience but to incorporate those skills in your daily life. By attending MMA classes, I realized that there is always something more to learn. Each class would teach a new technique, and no matter how long someone had been attending classes everyone struggled in some area. Even though I haven’t had a chance to attend classes in about a year, the knowledge that I learned has spread to other areas in my life. I have a new thirst for knowledge, and read more than I have done in my whole life. I now understand the importance of taking things one day at a time, and not being in such a rush to complete goals. Not only that but I bought my first house, obtained a new position, and started freelance writing as a result of what I learned in my short time attending classes. I seek out new opportunities, which is how I am currently writing for MOTIVATION magazine.
Whatever goal that you want to conquer, you must realize that it can be overcome. Never take for granted what you may learn if you step outside of your comfort zone. You might be surprised in what you may find on the other side.
About the Author:
Terrence Johnson is a licensed professional counselor who currently works at Jackson State University as a therapist. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University where he obtained a bachelor degree in psychology and a master degree in counselor education. He has worked with adolescent offenders, children with mental health disorders, middle, high school, and college aged students. He specializes in the areas of career and mental health counseling.
Click the following link to learn more about: Terrence Johnson