photo by Gary Tyson - eric kim hong kong
Photo by Gary Tyson

I feel most of us crave the following: freedom from worry.

We are all slaves to fear. We buy things because we think it will protect us. We network with higher-ups, because we feel they will bring us advantages (which will cause us to worry less).

We want security. We want freedom. We don’t want to die.

We think that we will gain more confidence in ourselves with certain objects that we buy. In the realm of photography, we feel we will have more confidence to take photos if we had a different camera. We feel that by having a better camera, we will worry less about capturing the “decisive moment.” We think we will worry less about the image quality.

eric kim street photography - Only in America-14 - san diego
San Diego, 2013

In the realm of material possessions, we think that we will have more confidence attracting others if we have a fancy or expensive car. We think by clothing ourselves in luxury goods, we won’t worry whether people judge us negatively or not.

We all want freedom from worry. But we won’t find freedom from worry in things.

The only way we can banish worry from our lives is to have self-confidence. To have supreme confidence in yourself— only yourself. To build an impregnable and unshakeable mind.

Many of us work out at the gym to build our bodies to get stronger. But how few of us actually train our minds, to become mentally stronger, more confident, and brave?

Where does self-confidence really come from?

Self-confidence comes from the idea that you aren’t lacking anything. That you have all the tools necessary to flourish in your life. To have the confidence that you won’t become homeless, and you will be able to pay the bills. To have the confidence to say what is really on your mind— without worrying that others might judge you negatively, or criticize you behind your back.

Tips to stop worrying in life

eric kim street photography

How do we stop worrying?

Of course, easier said than done.

Here are some tips, tactics, and strategies I have employed in my life to worry less:

  1. Imagine the worst possible case scenario: Vividly imagine the worst-case scenario. This way, you will mentally adjust to the worst-possible case scenario. And very rarely does the worst-case scenario occur. If the worst-case scenario does occur, you aren’t surprised— you expected it. If what happens isn’t as bad as you imagined it, then you will feel happy.
  2. Live in simulated poverty: Most of us fear going bankrupt, becoming impoverished, and perhaps death. For a week, try to see how little you can survive on. Sleep on a blanket on the ground, eat the cheapest food you can afford, and go without your smartphone. Can you survive for a week? You will (ask anyone who goes camping), and this will give you more confidence in yourself— that you have nothing to fear.
  3. Build physical and mental strength: Go to the gym, lift heavy weights (squat, bench press, and deadlift). This goes both to the men and ladies. When you have physical strength, you will build more mental strength. And to build mental strength, read uplifting, motivational things. Personally, listening to hip-hop music and reading Stoic philosophy empowers me. You want to “prime” your mind to become strong. Avoid consuming media that creates fear in your life— cut it out, and add positivity and empowerment to your life.

Also don’t forget— life is more like boxing than dancing. Life is no dainty affair. Life can be really fucking hard sometimes. As the Stoics said, “Sometimes to even live is an act of courage.”

So make it your goal to be a little bit less afraid each day, and to worry a little bit less each day. Then compounded over days, weeks, months, and years— you will become indestructible, serene, tranquil, and without fear.

Be strong,
Eric

Learn more: Stoicism >