15 Things To Stop Being Scared Of So You Can Be Rich, Happy, And Successful

Being scared is a natural reaction, but a lot of good things can and will be scary. Often, people are scared when things are changing, like if you’re starting a new job, getting married, or any other major life event. It’s only natural to be a little scared about how things will turn out. You…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 24, 2023

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Being scared is a natural reaction, but a lot of good things can and will be scary.

Stop Being ScaredOften, people are scared when things are changing, like if you’re starting a new job, getting married, or any other major life event. It’s only natural to be a little scared about how things will turn out.

You might be scared when you are trying to do something that is difficult, like paying off debt. What if it takes you longer than you had hoped? What about the sacrifices you will have to make? 

Being scared happens when you do or try things that are new or outside of your comfort zone, and everyone feels scared from time to time. You may not believe that you cannot achieve what you are setting out to do.

But, you have to push through these negative moments and realize that you are holding yourself back if you want to start overcoming fear and let yourself move forward and do something new.

I have had a lot of fears to overcome to get where I am today. I was scared to quit my job to blog full-time. I was scared to move from our regular house to an RV. I was scared to move onto our sailboat. 

Being scared is natural, but if I didn’t address my fears in a positive way, I wouldn’t be living the life I am today.

Everyone is scared of something. However, it’s how you approach that fear that really matters. If you hide from your fear then you may be holding yourself back.

This can then lead to regret later, which often feels worse than being scared.

Whether you are wanting to tackle your debt, you want to leave a job you hate, you want to travel the world, and so on, you need to overcome the fears associated with these goals to live and enjoy the life you want.

Below are 15 things you should stop being scared of so that you can learn how to be rich, happy, and successful (or whatever you want to be!).

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Here are 15 things to stop being scared of.


1. Don’t fear discomfort.

Many of the best things in life are probably going to make you feel uncomfortable. Being scared and staying in your box all the time, while it seems easy, can hold you back in some situations.

I’m a big believer that growth comes from trying things that make you feel uncomfortable!

This may mean going on stage to do public speaking, climbing a mountain, selling your home to travel full-time, exercising, making new friends, learning a new skill, and so on.

By doing things that make you uncomfortable, you may learn new things about yourself, find something that you love doing, and so on. 


2. Stop being scared of what other people think.

If I let the opinions of others stop me from doing things, I would probably be hiding in a closet and never leave my house. This is completely different from how I used to be. Now I don’t care at all about what others think, and I couldn’t be happier.

You shouldn’t let the opinions of others affect you. Like I always say “WHO CARES?!

Everyone is different, so why should the opinions of others matter to you? All that should matter is what is right for you. 


3. Don’t be afraid of the unknown.

Being scared is common when trying new things because you’ve never done those things before. You don’t know what will happen, what it will feel like, and more. 

But, some people never get out of their comfort zone and explore the new things because they are too afraid of the unknown.

You will never know what the future holds unless you try new things and welcome different experiences. Accepting the unknown is one of the best things you can do if you want to stop being scared and learn how to live your best life. 


4. Stop being afraid of making plans.

Making a plan to reach your goals is one of the best ways to reach them, but many don’t make plans because they are afraid of failing at them. This prevents some people from ever taking actions to reach their goals.

Yes, you can’t be for sure about what will happen in the future, and some of your plans may not work out, but you never know unless you start trying.

This is why I suggest making a realistic plan to reach your goals. This may make the whole thing much more relaxing and less stressful so you can stop being scared.

For example, if you want to leave your job for something else, one thing you might want to do is to make sure you have a well-funded emergency fund. This way if it takes you a little longer to find your dream job or dream life, then you can have your emergency fund there to help ease some of the stress.


5. Stop being scared of failure.

If you’re taking risks or trying new things, there is a chance that you may fail.

The thing about failing is that it’s completely okay!

You often learn a lot about yourself when you fail – even more than when you succeed. That’s because to overcome your failures, you’ll have to assess where you went wrong and how you can make it better.

You won’t know if something will work or not unless you try it, and sometimes failure is just a part of the learning process.

Part of learning how to live your best life is failing every now and then. Accept that fate now and you’ll be better prepared when it happens.


6. Stop being afraid of your past self.

When you are setting goals and working towards the future, it’s easy to tell yourself that you can’t succeed because of something that happened in the past. 

But, just because you may have failed at something in the past doesn’t mean you will in the future. I know people who have completely given up with reaching for hard goals because they weren’t successful in the past.

That mindset will only rob you of the opportunity to live your best life.

Maybe you’ve had a hard time with debt, you started a business and failed, you had a bad relationship, and so on. We all have things that have happened in the past that we don’t like, but think about the lessons you’ve learned from those experiences and move forward.


7. Invest, even if you’re afraid.

Being scared of investing is really common. That’s because investing your money can be a stressful and overwhelming topic to tackle. But, you want to invest so that you can:

  • Retire one day.
  • Prepare for unexpected events in the future.
  • Allow your money to grow over time.

For many, the hardest part about investing is actually starting. And, I completely understand that. Where do you start? How much do you invest? Where do you put your investment dollars?

However, the quicker you start investing, the more it becomes a habit and the easier it becomes. By investing money now, you will learn good investing habits that will help you well into the future.

Remember, time is on your side with investing, and due to the powerful impact of compound interest it can change your life. This means the earlier you invest your money, the more you will earn in the long run.

What is compound interest? Compound interest is when your interest is earning interest. This can turn the amount of money you have saved into a much larger amount years later.

This is important to note because $100 today will not be worth $100 in the future if you just let it sit under a mattress or in a checking account. However, if you invest, then you can actually turn your $100 into something more. When you invest, your money is working for you and hopefully earning you an income.

For example: If you put $1,000 into a retirement account that has an annual 8% return, 40 years later that would turn into $21,724. If you started with that same $1,000 and put an extra $1,000 in it for the next 40 years at an annual 8% return, that would then turn into $301,505. If you started with $10,000 and put an extra $10,000 in it for the next 40 years at an annual 8% return, that would then turn into $3,015,055.

Here are some of the easy steps you can take to stop being scared and start investing:

  1. Set money aside specifically for investing. In order to invest your money, you need to start setting aside money specifically for it. The amount of money you save for investing is entirely up to you, but in general, the more the better.
  2. Research. Before you start dumping your money into the stock market and other investments, it’s a good idea to know what you’re putting your money towards. Reading about various investment-related tips and researching each investment will help you  become more informed about your investing decisions so you can stop being scared. It will also help you better investment decisions well into the future.
  3. Find an online brokerage or someone to manage your investments. There are two main ways to invest your money. You can either invest your money yourself through a brokerage or you can find someone to manage your investment portfolio for you. You will need to take part in one of these options to actually start investing your money. Personally, I like to do everything myself through Vanguard.
  4. Determine how you will invest your money. Now that you’ve opened an investment account, you will want to decide where you will put your investments. How you invest depends on your risk tolerance, the time period for which you are investing (when will you retire?), and more. Generally, the sooner you need your funds the less risk you will take on, whereas the longer your time period is, then the more risk you may be willing to take on.
  5. Track your investment portfolio. The next step is to regularly track your investments. This is important because you may eventually have to change what you are invested in, put more money towards your investments, and so on.
  6. Continue the steps above over and over again. To invest for years and years to come, you will want to continue the steps above over and over again. Now that you know the steps it takes to invest your money, it only gets easier.


8. You shouldn’t be afraid of being too old or too young.

No matter what your age is, you can still have goals. You’re never too young or too old to look for a better job, to travel the world, to save for retirement, and more.

Stop being scared of your age, and don’t let it hold you back from leading a rich, happy, and successful life.


9. Don’t be afraid to reach your goals.

Crazy enough, many people are scared of actually reaching their goals.

However, those who set goals are much more likely to be successful than those who do not. 

Setting goals is important because without a goal, how do you know where you’re heading? Goals can keep you motivated and striving for your best.

When you’re making plans for the future, you should make sure that your goal is SMART.

A SMART goal is:

  • Specific – What is your goal? Is it specific enough or is it too broad? What needs to be done for you to achieve your goal? Why do you want to reach your goal?
  • Measurable – How can you measure your progress? How will you know if you’re on track?
  • Attainable – Is this a goal that can be achieved?
  • Realistic/relevant – Can you achieve your goal? Is the goal worth it?
  • Time – What’s your time frame for reaching your goal?

Setting goals the right way can help you from being scared of them.

Still, even SMART goals can sound huge, so here are a few more tips to help you set and reach your goals:

  • Write down your goals and objectives.
  • Create a plan to reach your life goals.
  • Break each goal apart into smaller goals.
  • Keep track of your goal setting progress and make changes (if needed).
  • Find small ways to stick to your goal.
  • Find ways to motivate yourself when setting goals.
  • Make reaching your goal a friendly competition.


10. Don’t be scared of having a budget.

Nearly everyone needs a budget, whether you have a million dollars already in the bank or are working to pay off debt.

Budgets are what help you work towards financial goals you’ve just created. And, even when you do reach your goals, a budget will help prevent future financial stress. This is because budgets keep you mindful of your income and expenses. With a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend in a category each month, how much you have to work with, what spending areas need to be evaluated, among other things.

However, not many people have a budget. In fact, more than 60% of households in the U.S. do not have a budget.

If you are new to budgeting, be sure to include all of your income and expenses when creating your budget.

Here are some expenses you may want to include, but don’t forget any expenses you have that aren’t listed:

  • Home – House payment, rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance, property taxes, etc.
  • Car – Monthly car payment, gas, maintenance, insurance, license plate fees, and so on
  • Television, cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • Cell phone
  • Internet
  • Food – Groceries, restaurant spending, snacks, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment – Entertainment can include many things, such as going to the movies, going out for drinks, concert tickets, sports, and so on
  • Charity – If you regularly donate to charity, then you should put it in your budget
  • Savings funds – This can be for your retirement fund, wedding, travel, etc.
  • Taxes – If you are self-employed, then taxes may consist of a large part of your budget
  • Health insurance
  • Miscellaneous – Pet expenses, fees, childcare, school, gifts, etc.

After you know your expenses, balance those with your income – you should be making more than you are spending. A budget will show you exactly which money issues need to be addressed so you can reach your financial goals.

You can get a free budget printable by signing up below.


11. Stop being scared of talking about money.

Talking about money is still a very taboo topic. Even married couples are afraid to talk about money with each other. I know many people who don’t know how much their spouse makes, if they have debt and how much, and more.

But, talking about those things will help you get on the same page. It also reduces a lot of stress if someone were handling all of the finances on their own.

Talking about money can be stressful at first, but go in with an open mind and be willing to listen.

When you and your partner are both aware of what’s going on with your finances, you can create and work towards your goals together. 

Read more at Check In With Your Finances With Regular Money Talks.


12. Don’t be afraid of hard work.

Great things in life will usually require a lot of work. Those things wouldn’t feel as amazing if they were just handed to you.

You might have to work long hours, work your brain like you never have in the past, handle multiple jobs, provide support for your family, take classes, and more.

But, just because it is hard does not mean you should give up.


13. Don’t be afraid of your debt.

If you want to pay off your debt, the number one thing I recommend doing is actually sitting down and adding it ALL up.

Down to the exact penny.

However, this is something that many, many people are terrified of doing. This is because once you add it all up, your debt becomes much more real.

However, you’ll never get rid of your debt unless you stop and know exactly how much money you owe.

Paying off your debt can lessen your stress levels and allow you to have more money to put towards something else (such as retirement). Just think about how much more money you will have to put towards your goals when you stop paying high interest fees alone.

If being scared of your debt is an issue, the first step to overcoming fear is to realize why you have debt in the first place. I believe that if you don’t understand where your problem with debt stems from, then it will be hard to make a positive change.

Yes, it is great to just start attacking your debt, but you don’t want to fall into the same cycle of going into debt over and over again.

After you realize why you are in debt (or why you keep going back into debt), the next step is to figure out how you will eliminate it. There are many different ways to attack your debt, and I think you are the most successful when you do all of the following.

To stop being scared of debt and to start paying it off, you should:

  • Quit adding more debt to your life. You may want to cancel or freeze your credit card(s), think harder before each purchase, and avoid spending temptations like the mall.
  • Be realistic with your income and spending. If you have debt, then you either have an income or spending problem. You may need to start earning more money and/or start spending less if you want to pay off your debt.
  • Decrease your spending and expenses. Depending on how quickly you want to get rid of your debt, there are different things that you may want to cut out. You could cut out Starbucks (I know, I know), lower your restaurant spending, find a cheaper way to workout, sell your car for something cheaper/more affordable, cook from scratch, and so on.
  • Make more money. By earning more money, you will have more money to pay off your debt, and you can usually do it even faster.
  • Pay more than the minimum. If you have debt, you should always be paying more than the minimum payment so that you can lower the amount you are paying towards interest.
  • Put little amounts toward your debt. For example, whenever you get an extra $25 (such as by selling something), then you should just throw that extra money towards your debt. You probably won’t even miss those small amounts of money.



14. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

There are many things you can negotiate in life such as:

  • Job offers
  • How much you’ll earn and benefits
  • Cable, cell phone, and internet bills
  • Buying a vehicle
  • Purchasing a home
  • Medical expenses
  • Insurance rates

Being scared of negotiating is really common, whether that means negotiating on a big purchase such as a car or a house, a smaller expense such as a monthly internet bill, or even job offers.

There are many reasons why people are afraid of negotiating. You may not like negotiating because you are shy, feel cheap, don’t know how, or for some other reason.

However, not negotiating can financially impact a person as they may be paying more for something or not reaching their earning potential.

Negotiating is expected in many cases, so if you don’t negotiate then you may be losing a lot of money.

Just think about it – not negotiating a simple $10 monthly amount could add up to $120 per year. If you’re able to save $100 a month by negotiating (which is very simple!), you could be saving $1,200 per year. All you have to do is ask, and usually you only have to do it once!

Here are some of my negotiating tips so you can stop being scared:

  • Be mindful of timing. A company is more likely to negotiate with you if the timing works for them.
  • Research the competition. This can help you to better defend the deal you are seeking.
  • Be polite. The person you are negotiating with is a human and deserves respect, just like you do.
  • Ask. You won’t be able to get a better deal if you don’t ask.
  • Be willing to walk away. There are some instances in which the item, job, or service is not worth the effort. You should always be prepared to walk away if it is something that does not suit your situation.


15. Stop being scared of taking risks.

Have you ever thought about doing something particularly risky so that you could live life to the fullest but you were too afraid to go for it? Doing something risky every so often can get your heart beating and your adrenaline rushing. If you want to learn how to better yourself, this can really make you feel alive and like you are in charge of your life.

This is something that I am trying to get much better at because I realize that fear might be holding me back from being able to live life to the fullest.

Now is the time to stop being scared and take more risks!

What are you afraid of? Has being scared held you back? What are some of the goals you have in life?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. When I was younger, I would often wonder what people would think if I said or did this, said or did that. I didn’t want to look at their faces. Nowadays, through experience and changing the way I think, I could care less what people think of me. Through thick and thin, it’s about believing in self. I personally think some people are afraid of success and how family, friends and coworkers would look at them if they were successful in entrepreneurship-side hustling. I’m a firm believer that the worst thing a person could do is worry about what people think and not take the chance at turning a side hustle into a future million-dollar online business.

  2. Mike McHugh

    I used to hate negotiating for things. I still do hate it. The difference today its that even though I hate it I don’t let it stop me. As A result, I negotiated two salary increases in the last few years!

    I think what had held me back for so long was another fear that you referenced–fear of failure. I always thought to myself I didn’t know how to negotiate and that salesmen and other professionals were trained in this, so what chance would I have?

    Now I know that is the wrong thinking. It may be true that the person on the other side of the table has better negotiating skills, but how else will I develop my own skills if I don’t try?

    After all, I play tennis with people who are better than me because I figure that makes me better, too. Negotiating is no different.

  3. Michelle,

    You’re my hero! How many times have we avoided opportunities (and lost out on everything!) due to fear? I can think of at least five things I quit doing or avoided doing altogether because I was afraid — one thing was planting a garden!!!! (I was afraid I’d do it wrong.)

    Life is all about diving in, taking chances and coming out the other end amazed that you DID it. It could bring about a major transformation.

    Thanks so much for this post!

  4. Ben Greenback

    I tend to agree with much of what you’ve posted. Every person deals with fear in a different way. In some cases it can be debilitating, unfortunately. Often forcing some type of routine helps move past that fear. The issue with that is then you can find a level of comfort in that routine. As a result, you develop some fear of the unknown and unexplored. So it takes a bit of effort to overcome that and pursue new things that may or may not work out as you intended.

    Nice write up and advice.

  5. Great post, Michelle.

    An awesome book on systematic fear-conquering is Breaking Out of Homeostasis by Ludvig Sunstrom. We tend to view our fears as if they were based on rationality. But, they are mostly biological responses that are hyper-sensitive to POTENTIAL threats. You can methodically stretch your comfort zone by doing simple things like fasting, cold showers, and purposely putting yourself in awkward situations.

    My point is, doing seemingly purposeless things that are uncomfortable will help you next time you want to sit down to add up your debt or plan out your next career move.

  6. Great article! We learned in 2020 about negotiating utility bills. It has been refreshing. Thanks for the share. Always love hearing what you have to say.