Just do it

The lifestyle of making a livable income online has appealed to me for a while, climaxing in my appreciation of The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and sustained by my following of many blogs on the subject. I continue to regularly read good posts about creating income with nothing but hard work and a denial of the ordinary.

But one of the biggest impediments holding me back, and to my happiness in general, is just how hard it is doing new things. Gretchen Rubin has a good post today outlining some solutions to this, and Cath Duncan’s guest post on Zen Habits touches on it as well. The essence of this impediment is fear:

Fear tends to cause us to avoid the thing we’re fearing, which is obviously very useful when the thing you’re fearing is a real threat to your life. But most of the stuff we’re scared about in our daily lives doesn’t pose any threat to our lives, because we’re wired to feel fear whenever we’re dealing with something unfamiliar. This means that, whenever we’re learning and growing and extending our comfort zones, we’ll feel fear. And when you’re growing towards something that’s really important to you, your fear is greatest, because your heart’s in it and you care deeply about the results. So list all the things you’re feeling most afraid about right now. Then ask yourself again, “What does this tell me about what’s important to me?”

The basic solution to this fear of the new is self-discipline, but the slightly more complicated solution is to change the way you react to new situations. As Eddie Izzard says (in regard to coming out), we ought to go toward things that scare us, because frequently, they’re the biggest things holding us back from our dreams. This is the area I need to work on the most, and I hope you will join me! Karol Gajda has a great piece of wisdom on this account, and I will end with a paraphrasing of it: if you’re afraid to do something, it might mean it’s a bad idea. But more often, it means you should do it.

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