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Overcoming fear

Feeling uncomfortable

Every day, we're confronted with problems.

Some problems are easy: "I'm out of soap and I need to buy more." Some problems are hard: "How do I navigate today's technical landscape to create things people value and enjoy?"

When confronted with a hard problem, specifically a hard problem with no clear solution and a tight deadline, the little voice in our head becomes loud.

"The circumstances weren't right."

"I didn't get the support I needed."

"I've come a long way already; this is probably good enough."

This voice is usually accompanied by physical responses: a feeling in the pit of your stomach, a sharp awareness in the back of your mind, moist palms—or palms more moist than usual if you're like me. This is fear (cortisol or something? Huberman, enlighten me).

Each time I'm confronted with a hard, (seemingly) insurmountable problem, there's a bit of fear and discomfort. Okay, sometimes there's more than a bit.

Now, many spend their entire lives avoiding discomfort: avoiding confrontation with the things that make them doubt themselves, their choices, or who they are.

The greatest things in life

I'm here to say that the greatest things life has to offer come from the physical discomfort associated with fear and sacrifice: repeatedly overcoming the voice in your head to prove that you are more than your emotions (your lizard brain).

Can you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Probably. Can you remember how you felt precisely before lunch yesterday? Probably not. Our emotions (and thoughts) are fleeting. Moving towards our goals starts with acknowledging that not every thought is important.

Not every emotion is worthy, and some, like the fear of failure, should be ignored. There isn't a shortcut or magic answer. As Nike once said, we "just do it." The origins of that slogan are simple: just start. It doesn't matter if it's at work, on a train, at the gym, or the supermarket.

When you're confronted by an unreasonable fear, question that emotion. That's the first step.

The beginning

Overcoming fear is not the end. It's a means to an end and the start of your journey. That's when you can start pushing yourself or, better yet, finding environments where others push you.

That's when you can stop memorizing and start learning.

Learning by failing. Learning by getting up and trying again. Learning by observing and doing dumb things and constantly course correcting.

That is the journey. That is the way.

And the way starts with saying "no" to the pang in your stomach. It starts with saying "Yes, I can" every single day.

Every single set in the gym and every single project at work. When the world doesn’t seem to make sense or it feels like you’re not in control. Say “yes I can” and keep moving in the direction you feel is right.

#fear #life #strategy