Over the years, a lot of people have asked me “Aren’t you scared?,” which is a question I answered in the first chapter of my book American Borders, actually, because it was so irritating and loomed so large in my trip. (You can read this first chapter for free, here.) Yes, damn it, I was scared! Buy why aren’t you saying, “Aren’t you excited!?” or thrilled or brave or adventurous. But everyone–every single person with the sole exception of the amazing Timothy Leary–asked me some version of that question. And when I’m about to go on a I still am, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s a useful and natural thing and keeps us safe. But it’s important to evaluate the source of our fear, and to challenge it, and to challenge it strongly.
Yes, I’m nervous, scared, terrified, sometimes. Still am. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s a useful and natural thing and keeps us safe. But it’s important to evaluate the source of our fear, and to challenge it, and to challenge it strongly. In my case, my curiosity and excitement help me overcome my fears. My knowledge that on the other side of fear lies incredible things like joy and growth and friendships and enlightenments.
These days most of us live a very cush life and it’s clearly easy to create fear where it doesn’t belong. I posted some audio the other day from Seth Godin who calls the fear of public speaking a bug in our operating system. Because, after all, there’s nothing actually dangerous about public speaking. Who has actually died of embarrassment? Yet there is a lot of danger around getting in your car and heading down the freeway. Do we tremble at home for days in anticipation of it? No.
So it seems I’m collecting (attracting?) treatises on the topic of fear. Here’s a video by the iconic Tony Robbins on how to start overcoming fear, right now.