Saturday, March 29, 2008

Steve Pavlina - Whatever You Fear, You Must Face

A cool and very useful post from Steve Pavlina on facing our fears.

Here is the key passage -- he's having dinner with friends in the Las Vegas Improvisational Players after having watched their show (he had been a part of the group in 2006).

I thought to myself, This is how human beings are meant to be — happy, alive, and inviting – but the interesting part is how you get there.

What improv players have in common is that they’re all willing to get up on stage, which is something most people are afraid to do. They’re willing to try to be funny without knowing in advance how they’ll do it. They never know what they’ll say or do until they actually find themselves doing it. They can practice, but they can’t really prepare.

Are these people completely unafraid? Were they simply born with no fear of public speaking? In most cases, no. They have the same fears and anxieties everyone else does. It’s common to feel nervous or anxious before a show. Being nervous isn’t a sign of impending failure — it just means you care about your performance. This fear energy sends most people running, but those who get up on the stage learn that fear isn’t really an obstacle. It’s a challenge to be faced.

The reward for facing fear is that you get to be fully alive. When you turn towards your fear, you feel the breath of life blowing straight at you, and it’s very refreshing. You feel awake and energized. It’s not that you become an adrenaline junky. You simply realize that you can’t let fear stand in your way if you want to live your life consciously. Being afraid of something is no excuse for not doing it.

[Emphasis added.] Read the whole post -- it's quite good.

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