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 weâ€™re fearing, which is obviously very useful when the thing youâ€™re fearing is a real threat to your life. But most of the stuff weâ€™re scared about in our daily lives doesnâ€™t pose any threat to our lives, because weâ€™re wired to feel fear whenever weâ€™re dealing with something unfamiliar. This means that, whenever weâ€™re learning and growing and extending our comfort zones, weâ€™ll feel fear. And when youâ€™re growing towards something thatâ€™s really important to you, your fear is greatest, because your heartâ€™s in it and you care deeply about the results. So list all the things youâ€™re feeling most afraid about right now. Then ask yourself again, â€œWhat does this tell me about whatâ€™s important to me?â€
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.