5 Easy Steps to Overcoming Your Fear Of The Future
Future. The second most terrifying concept known to mankind, born from our self-awareness and ability to perceive time.
It’s one of the three realities that always exist for us, alongside the past and the present. We live in the present, we remember the past…
But for some strange reason, we fear the future. Things like our future life, our future career, and even future events. Why?
The terror of death
In every person’s life comes a time when they realize their own mortality. They envision themselves growing old and dying. They see their loved ones passing away.
And it’s so vivid, it almost feels like it’s happening then and there. That vision would be a terrifying experience for most adults, but it happens when you’re a kid.
When it happened to me, I was so afraid I couldn’t sleep for almost a week. Life suddenly felt like a train ride that never stops.
Even if you scream, cry, and beg for the train to stop, nothing will change. You can try and run to the cars in the back, but you’re still on the train…
And it will always reach its final destination with you on it.
For some time, life lost its color. Everyday joy was replaced with despair because I could see my inevitable death.
This was the first time I feared my future.
Chronophobia – time gives and takes away
As time passed, the vision of my death became more and more obscured by the black field in front of it. That black field was my future I knew next to nothing about.
It’s in our nature to fear the unknown. It helps us anticipate the dangers to avoid them, making survival easier. But that also works against us.
We can easily start perceiving future as some sort of danger. And because we know we’ll die eventually, that sense of danger never leaves us.
That’s what happened to me as well. I was afraid of what tomorrow, next week/month/year would bring.
Any tiny bit of hopefulness I had was overpowered by fear of the unknown.
As my life progressed, the veil of darkness over the black field was lifting gradually, revealing new landmarks.
My first school day, the upcoming sports meet, my band performance, my first date, my graduation ceremony, my first work day…
They were all the important events in my life that I could see happening. Things that should fill you with anticipation, excitement, and joy…
What I felt was uncertainty, anxiety, the slight trembling, trouble breathing, and overall unpleasant feeling inside me.
My possible futures were having a negative impact on me, overpowering anything I did in the present. And I didn’t enjoy that type of life the least.
Step 1 – We’re all in the same boat
So there I was, living my life, pretending I’m okay. I thought I was doing a great job at hiding my problem.
My parents, friends, and teachers never realized there was something wrong with me. Nor did I want them to know. But it didn’t last too long.
One summer I went over to my grandma’s place to stay with her for a month. The previous time we met I was my bright and cheerful self, so she immediately noticed the change in me.
She kept pestering me about it and I kept denying anything had changed, but I eventually caved in.
So I told her what bothered me and she gently smiled at me. She explained that no one in the world knew the future, aside from maybe Nostradamus and John Titor.
If you take a look at the people around you, they still try to live their lives to the fullest. Without any need for future predictions.
They never have fear of change. Instead they embrace it. And because of that, they achieve great things in their lifetimes.
We’re all on the same playing field when it comes to the future. Just knowing that fact will bring you solace.
But what’s also important is your perspective. Precisely because we don’t know the future, we can enjoy life with all the excitement, happiness, and sorrow it might bring.
There are always endless possibilities ahead of you. Just imagine how boring it is for a god-like entity that knows all the past, the present, and the future.
It’s like watching a TV show when you already know what’s gonna happen…
Step 2 – Question your fear of the future
Grandma’s simple yet somehow profound encouragement had a great impact on my life. Present day, it’s the only event I remember from that distant summer.
It sparked a change in my thinking, developing more as time passed. The new skill I acquired and I was really proud of – I learned to question my fear of the future.
It’s absurdly simple, I know, but effective nonetheless. As the saying goes, the simplest things in life are usually the best.
So whenever I started fearing something in the future, I would just ask myself “Why?”
You can be as general or specific as you want. Just make your answer as detailed as possible and ask follow-up questions.
Q: Why am I afraid of the future?
A: Because I’m struggling financially, I might run out of money, lose my house, and end up on the street.
Q: Why am I struggling financially?
A: Because I don’t earn enough money and the expenses keep cropping up.
Q: How do I earn more money?
A: By finding a better job or starting a lifestyle business.
So on and so forth.
This type of self-interview I developed, was the first small victory in beating my fear of the future.
By questioning my fear, I could tackle my fear and problems head-on, all in record time.
The effects? It gave me some peace of mind, I felt better, and it also made my life easier. And I’m absolutely sure you and anyone else can accomplish that as well.
But that was just the first step. What I started doing after worked even better.
Step 3 – The master plan of your life
I didn’t realize it at first, but every time I questioned my fear of the future, I was also planning ahead. This very tiny bit of planning gave me more control of my life than I ever had before.
Just think about it, life has way too many variables and things that can go wrong, creating stupendous amounts of uncertainty for anyone and everyone.
Consequently, one of the worst things you could do in life is leaving your future up to chance.
When you do, even if things happen to go your way, you learn and gain very little from it. But when something bad or unexpected happens (and believe me it will), you’re simply not ready.
Your energy gets drained, your mindset is crippled, and your life becomes worse overall. And even when you try to solve the new problem, it takes longer than it should…
So after some self-reflection, I arrived at a really simple solution. I needed to plan ahead more.
After some experimentation, I concluded that it’s best to have two types of plans – a short-term plan and a long-term plan.
Your short-term plan needs to be as detailed as possible. All the “whats” and “ifs” you can imagine.
Expect the unexpected and account for the unaccountable. Have a backup plan for your backup plan. The more detailed your overall plan is, the more at ease and in control, you’ll feel.
Now the long-term plan takes a lot less work. It’s the general outline/direction you want your life to be headed into.
For example, I want to work from home. Or I want to work/interact with people a lot. Or even, I want to spend every day resting on the beach.
It’s essentially a new vision of your future that brightly illuminates the black field, pulling you towards your desired future.
Even if the train will never stop, at least you’ll know where you’re going. And that’s all the reassurance I needed at that time.
But even if you plan perfectly, life often has something else in store for you…
Step 4 – Use your worst experiences as a crutch
My plan was perfect, my skills were getting there, and my body was ready – I was gonna be a rockstar! Or so I thought…
One freak accident later, I was at the hospital. Shortly into my stay, the white reaper, my doctor, came and gave me the news.
The good news – the multiple fractures I had in my arm would heal perfectly. The bad news – I had permanent nerve damage in my fingers, so I couldn’t play the guitar anymore.
A single mistake and a single moment had cost me my entire life and future. It was a miserable feeling, to the point I expected the Moon to come crashing down to Earth at any moment.
That was the lowest moment of my life and it took me a long time to recover from it. But even today I use it as a source of motivation and inspiration.
You see, back then I didn’t know if I ever would find a new purpose and passion in life. My friends and family supported me, but I don’t think that’s enough to overcome such a life-altering event for anyone.
In the end, the most important aspect was my own desperation, strength, and willpower that helped me find a new purpose and passion, so here we are with The Empowered Choice…
Just by knowing I had that in me, whatever might come, I just wasn’t afraid of the future. Because I know if I could do it once, I can do it again.
The important takeaway is – If you just accept your fate and do nothing to change it, your life and future won’t ever improve.
Step 5 – No time like the present
How often do you get lost in thought?
It used to happen to me almost all the time. Sometimes I’d daydream about past events, songs, movies, or the things I’ve read.
Unfortunately, most of the time I was just stressing over my future. I was thinking so much, I often lost sight of the present.
I didn’t see or care what was happening around me, so I was neglecting to live the life I was worried about in the first place.
It’s a problem that I couldn’t solve immediately, even if I put in a conscious effort to focus on the present. The four previous steps changed that.
It took me a long time and a lot of work to get here, but today, my mindset and attitude towards life are the best it has ever been. All because I can easily focus on the present now.
Mostly because future isn’t the scary monster it once was. Now I see it as a thick and rugged book.
Each day is a new page in that book. And each page has a new story I’m simply looking forward to.
There’s no more fear of the future, no more exaggerated sense of urgency and danger. I can breathe easy and actually live my life in the present.
I can open my eyes, take a look around me, appreciate every little thing I see, and spend time with my friends and loved ones without anything holding me back. I’m here and now.
That being said, I really hope this short write-up was helpful in conquering your fear of the future!
But these are just the cliff notes of a massive and detailed guide I’ve prepared over the course of my life.
You can use the guide immediately to completely eliminate any fear of the future and finally start enjoying life. (if you’re willing to put in some work and precious time.)
It’s called The Empowered Method. Open it and say hello to your future self. (Click on the book below to get yours!)
That’s all from me, if you have any feedback or suggestions on what you’d like to see next, please let me know!
See you on the next blog post!
Here’s a very inspiring story from Angela Ceberano and how she dealt with fear and anxiety: