Everybody, without exception, has some sort of fear.  Fear is often scoffed at, discouraged, and heavily misunderstood.  Fear isn't a bad thing.  Fear is one of our most native forms of self preservation, and should be regarded as natures best warning system.  Fear, like any good protection, can also be a double edged sword and overwhelm us, put limitations on us and completely debilitate us.  Think of it this way, your Antivirus/Firewall can protect you from some threats, but when you completely block out all traffic (a function many firewalls offer) you'll completely shut down the web, fear can be so crippling that it blocks you from all sorts of success, relationships, or opportunities, the things you want and desire are subdued by fear, causing the wrong reactions, or even worse inaction.

When our fears are irrational, or the fear becomes overwhelming it does far more harm than good.  Fear can cause us to make poor decisions and stop us from achieving greatness.  I believe our fears can become submissive to us, and lead to courageous action despite our fears.  When this happens we become thrilled with the sensations of accomplishment.  There is little more satisfying than conquering a fear.

So what are you afraid of?  Do you fear social embarrassment?  Do you fear failure?  In today's modern world there is less to rationally fear.  We aren't going to get malled by a wild animal on the way to work (in most cases) and the lack of fear can possibly lead us developed humans to creating new ones....Highly irrational ones.

When we deeply examine some of our worst fears we can often find that they are silly, illogical, and easily conquered.  Interrogate yourself on how you let fear drive your actions.  If inaction is your response to difficult situations then you are just on autopilot letting fear rule the day.  Have you ever talked about starting a business, then gave up the idea because you felt the fear of failing.  Well here's what I've used to conquer some of my own worst fears, maybe you can to.

Do not shy away from fear, it only grows stronger.  When faced with a fear that you know is likely irrational, and poses no threat of physical harm, take a stand.  Ask yourself these questions.  "What is the worst that can happen if my fear comes true?  When you allow yourself to wander in your fear you find that the outcome might not be so terrible, or even desirable.

Twist your fears into their opposites by positive thinking.  This often takes some time and persistence, but it is well worth the effort.  Using self-suggestion or affirmation daily to negate a fear is a powerful tool.  Let's say for example you have a fear of social situations.  You can try telling yourself (preferably out-loud and when you are alone) "I am an awesome individual, people enjoy my company."  Find a positive opposite of whatever fears you face and affirm their opposites in a routine manner.  Positive affirmations reinforce your willingness to face down your fears.  When you finally do grab the bull by the horns and face that fear down you'll fear incredibly powerful.

Another positive technique to rid yourself of fears is to visualize yourself conquering them.  This will build up your confidence as you create a perfectly detailed vision.  When you do this, hold the image in your mind firmly and allow yourself to feel the emotions attached to the imagery.  Most people will get a positive boost from this activity.  I know I do.  

One of the most common irrational fears I see abundantly in the world today is the fear of failure.  I hear great ideas all the time from people that want to start their own business, get out of the 9-5 swing and really create a great future for themselves, only to watch them resume "normal" behavior afterward.  They console their real failure by creating cognitive dissonance, and claiming that failure is what they are avoiding.  Failure is a tricky thing.  Fearing it is hilarious in my opinion.  The only real kinds of failure are giving up on something you passionately desire, and never trying.  So if you are one of those that things big, then acts small, fear may be what's holding you back.

One of my greatest fears has been that of criticism.  When putting a project together, or writing, I would feel smothered by fear that I would receive bad feedback.  In fact, this fear is lingering on now..as I'm writing I can feel it trying to convince me not to press the publish button, for fear of my views not being well received.  Well here's to facing our fears.  Good luck conquering yours.