How to Be Fearless

December 26, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

This post is part of User Generated Tuesdays. If you want to be read by 1,000 new friends please go here. This is written by Adam Jusko, who founded search site Bessed and blogs at Adam Jusko’s Bessed Blog.

Last week Noah wrote about Richard Branson’s book Losing My Virginity. I commented to him that what strikes me most about Richard Branson is how fearless he is. Branson doesn’t spend time on fear, he focuses instead on doing challenging things that seem fun and worthwhile. Most of us would like to cultivate a similar philosophy.

So I’ve decided to become fearless. Well, baby steps.
For now I’m settling for less fearful, getting over my fears, and being more willing to take chances. Complete fearlessness is just around the corner, though. Here are my strategies. Feel free to use them or make fun of them. I don’t care either way. I’m not afraid of you. Don’t fear failure, learn from it.

1. Think “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”
– There are only so many risks in life that truly have the potential to ruin your standard of living. Unless you’re staking your life savings on a business venture and you have absolutely no backup plan and no marketable skills if the business should fail, you will not end up penniless. Test your personal boundaries, get naked

This point is especially important if you’re young and not responsible to a spouse or children what do you have to lose? One day you’ll be staring 37 in the face as I am in a few days, with a wife and two preschoolers who depend at least to some extent on your income. This question may get somewhat more difficult at that point, but until then, what’s the worst that could happen? (Come to think of it, my kids are living a little too large. A shot to Dad’s income might be just what they need.)

2. Try Not to Care What Others Think Easier said than done, I know.

If I’m hesitating on doing something because I’m afraid of what someone else might think, my general strategy is to get mad. Who the hell do they think they are? This strategy requires you to act slightly insane, in that you’re getting angry before anyone’s actually ostracized you, but it can motivate you just long enough to do what you need/want to do.

A second strategy is simply to keep your project, your dream, or your secret love under wraps. If you’re worried about what someone else might think, do as much as you can away from prying eyes. Don’t talk about your plans until you’ve already started implementing them, or until you’re actually having some success. This isn’t always easy, it’s not really the preferred method, and it’s not really fearless, but it can be a way to drive you forward, so it’s still worth mentioning.

3. Pretend Ever heard the advice “Just be yourself?” If yourself is a stammering fool when the pressure’s on, like I often am, do not follow this advice. Instead, pretend.

When faced with a fear you can’t get past, think, “What would Richard Branson do?” Then act accordingly. I don’t mean you should pretend to be Richard Branson, taking on a fake accent and acting falsely dashing. Only that you should take on his attitude, which generally is “I can do that.”

If you’ve ever been in a school play or performed to any extent in front of an audience, think back to those situations and take on your fearful times as if you’re on stage reciting lines. (This is easiest and most helpful if you’ve scripted out in your head what could happen in a given situation and what your ideal reaction would be.)

4. Go See Rocky Balboa If Sylvester Stallone’s willing to risk public humiliation by making a movie in which he plays a 60-year-old boxer getting into the ring again, what are you so afraid of? When you really know what you want, set a plan to accomplish. Let nothing stop you and you will be successful.


Actually, I hear the movie’s pretty good. That’s what happens when you’re fearless.

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1 reply to “How to Be Fearless

  1. joe Reply

    Your number 1: Think “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?â€? Great but better when in conjuntion with my number 2: Think “What’s the BEST that could happen.” Not only does doing so help you evaluate whether or not your project is worth it, but visualizing your goal can help you achieve it. at least when you’re mid-process and starting to falter you can say “wait a sec, how did it go in my fantasy? oh yeah.” kind of like the richard branson thing.