Imagine yourself backstage.
You’re about to go one and speak to a crowded room of thousands of people.
The crowd is lively, the stage lights are bright, and you’re freaking the E. F-ing G. out.
That means you’re doing something right.
Public speaking is one of the most feared and revered skills we can have as humans. The ability to capture the minds and imaginations of thousands all at once with words — interpreted sounds — is incredible to me!
But unless you practice and hone your skills, it’s easy to see how being in front of that many people all looking at you at once can create such a fear-inducing effect. When I’ve spoken in front of people, I’ve either killed it or completely (arti)choked. It was all about the mindset I wore and the perspective running through my mind at the moment.
One prevailing theme I’ve observed from reading multiple biographies and from my own experiences is that challenges ultimately lead to greatness. We become more capable, more confident, and grow faster when we jump into our discomfort zones and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Life Principle #6: Life for Challenge
Mastery of life begins in our discomfort zones. Do what you fear.
When you feel a ping of fear* about something, that is something you should immediately start doing.
(* fear doesn’t mean stupid. Don’t go frolic with tigers or play hopscotch with the mob.)
Every moment of pain, discomfort, failure, critique, hiccup, rock-bottom fall is a challenge to overcome.
The worst setbacks we face can become opportunities for going further than we ever imagined.
Setbacks don’t define you, it’s what you do with them that speaks about who you are.
Chronic neck injury, burnout, useless college education, financial meltdown, shallow friendships, fatigue, uncertainty, these are my experiences. These are the stories I have the opportunity to share with others and teach them how to endure and overcome their own challenges.
I think we all know intuitively that we have to do something in order to be something. (I feel dumb even writing it)
If you want to be a blogger, you have to blog.
If you want to be a musician, you have to practice, record and play.
If you want to start an online business, you have to start.
And yet we still let fear hold us back. We let discomfort keep us from our ideal future.
But the strange thing is when you live for challenge, you learn to enjoy the discomfort.
Do you think Jimmy Fallon still get’s nervous every time he goes out on stage during Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Of course he does! But he loves it. He loves the fear and uncertainty.
The same goes for everyone who’s ever done anything and stood out in their lives.
And when you do step into your discomfort zone, despite the fear, you become unstoppable. Not because you can’t fail (you will) but because you proved to yourself that you are more capable then you or others thought possible.
Anyone can crowd surf, but only a few try.
Starting a business is terrifying. What if I fail? What if I lose all of my money?
Becoming a public speaker is terrifying. What if I bomb? What if I embarrass myself?
Becoming an author is terrifying. What if I never finish? What if it’s my work is no good?
But what if it works? What would you’re life look like if you succeed?
And if it is terrible, if you do bomb, what if you kept going until you succeed?
What’s scarier to you: stepping into the fear and challenging your comfort zone, or giving into the fear and living a lifetime wondering if your life would be better if you had?
The largest regrets I’ll have on my deathbed are challenges I didn’t take, and opportunities I missed because I was too scared in the moment to try.
A moment of discomfort looking like an idiot, falling on my face, being criticized is nothing compared to a lifetime of giving into fear and taking the normal road.
The Renaissance Life is about challenging yourself to become a part of something greater, to be what you know you are capable of.
Live for Challenge.
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
Related Insights (From People Smarter Than ME)
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” — Trent Reznor
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” — Steve Jobs