Fear, procrastination, laziness- these are just a few culprits of what all amounts to the same thing: low productivity and low action. Fear of rejection, procrastinating on a DIY home reno, and the “I just don’t feel like it today” sentiment. Can we all relate yet? Just do it.
We have busy lives and we are always trying to squeeze out as much as possible with what little apparent time we have. Mothers managing young children, college students fulfilling their academic responsibilities, the fresh young graduate ready to take on the world and slice off a piece for himself. There comes times when the aforementioned limitations steal your fire and inhibit the goals, or at least, the maintenance of a happy existence.
Our old nemesis, fear…
On many different levels, stops someone from doing something. Sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, temporary stupidity. We can be thankful for it, because without a healthy dose of it, the human species may not have been as successful as it is. It stops us from doing a lot assinine things- dangerous things. In modern life, we have removed many of the possible dangers, and with that, reasons that certain fears exist. Take for example, the fear of public speaking. Why why why why why? (spoken frustratingly). Deep down, there is an evolutionary theory to answer that. It is proposed that humans needed that adaptation to survive, whereby living in groups and being with this tribe increased the chances of a person surviving. Alone, a human would not last long in the stone-age wild.
Why the heck do we still fear it?!
Public speaking frequently shows up on surveys as being more feared than the fear of death.
Ok, some political figures are permitted to have the public speaking fear. Bobby Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt come to mind. Realistically though, no one is going to kill you, chances of injury are incredibly low, and you won’t be stricken with a terrible virus. The worst thing that can happen if you just do it is negative feedback, and therefore, a “perceived ejection from the group,” but not actually kicked out, keep in mind. Ultimately, you’re all good!
Fear is only from your perception. And you are wrong a lot.
Learn to control and guide thoughts on your own terms –
Meditation is a great practice to take command of your mind, steer it where to go, and it obeys.
What would be the worst thing? –
A nod to Graham Duncan for this thought provoking question. When confronted with a fear, ask, “what could be the worst that could happen if I do X?” Truly dig to the core, considering all safety measures of course, and the worst answer will often be quite small and manageable.
The brain has difficulty differentiating between real and imagined. Use that as an advantage and visualize a fearful event being successfully completed with as much depth as possible. Practice is the mother of skill. Visualize the scary thing often and eventually it will feel neutral or possibly interesting instead.
- One step at a time –
Feel free to take bite sized pieces of the worry, not all at once. It won’t feel so overwhelming.
Do at least something –
Thanks Mark Manson for this gem. You’re days away from getting your income tax completed? That’s ok. Don’t sit down to do all of it. Plan to do only 1 hour and quit. Honestly. Just do something. More times than not, the momentum from that hour will keep you exceeding that initial time limit. Additionally, the feedback loop in your mind that rewards you for completing that hour, and it makes you want to do more. If you don’t work past the hour, that’s ok. At least some of it was completed.
Just do it –
An example from my life is the fear of heights I experience. It felt awful higher than 10 ft off the ground. Two years ago, I had 2 trees that needed some major limbs removed and instead of paying the $1000+ to get it done, I bought out the equipment from a man retiring from the business. I decided to do my own limbing/removal and offer that service to the public as a side project. Many dollars of profit later, I reminisce about some of the 60 foot trees I was hanging from at the top, the wind swaying me and the tree, chainsaw in hand . Each time I climbed past 10 ft I became so incredibly nervous I swore I would quit right there, forever. However, every time, I put my metaphorical middle finger up and decided to just do it.
As for “just do it” public speaking fears, many cities in the world have Toastmasters, a public speaking group where one can screw up, babble, stutter, and no one cares negatively whatsoever. In fact, they may not even be consciously listening. I’ve been a member. I just walked in and began… full of anxiety, mind you.
No one cares –
This is two-tiered: they don’t care and you don’t care. First of all, people often don’t care about your public speaking screw-up. Even if they do care immediately, it is usually forgotten later. People are preoccupied thinking about themselves and how they are perceived to worry about your mistakes. Next, you have the camp that will feel sympathy for the speaker’s mistakes, so that’s clearly nothing to worry about. The second tier is, who cares what they think? Even if the listeners cared about the awful speaking, how many of them have the value and authority enough to have a worthy opinion… and one that would matter to you. Mostly, who cares what they think!
Smart Drugs –
Note, I do not recommend for or against their use. However, the internet is rife with anecdotal evidence of certain nootropics helping to ease the anxiety and boost motivation. Many have been found to be completely safe in moderation as they are often just herbs or concentrated capsules of food we already eat. I have only used Phenylethylamine (derived from cocoa) and Theanine (derived from tea leaves). Both have jacked up my energy and taken the edge off, making me more relaxed, yet energetic. I felt slightly more devil-may-care and natural. There are more than the two I have discussed, yet it is a subject of its own.
Don’t be lazy. Just do it yourself because many have before you. Put the work in!
Read more: Don’t Do YOUR Best, Do MY Best