Maybe the best antidote for fear is fun

So, that thing. You know… the thing you're putting off because you're scared of it? Scared of what'll happen if it goes wrong? Even more scared of what happens if it'll go right?

What if they don't like it?

What if they do?

Well, I could try to talk you out of that fear — and I've done it for hundreds of people just like you, fretting over the exact same things.

After all, there's a very clear worst case scenario and that is never trying. Living a tiny, limited life full of regret. That's why I usually say to invert the fear:

What if you live the rest of your life in anticipatory fear of things that will likely never happen?

What if you die with all your best work inside you?

But… that argument doesn't work on everyone. Some of us are wired to respond to the challenge of an impoverished future by screaming "Fuck that!" It works on us. The rest are left even more paralyzed than before.

So, for you… instead of a thought experiment that doubles down on fear, uses fear against itself like judo… how about a challenge?

How could you make it fun?

When you're having fun, you're not afraid. Play is possibility. Play is curiosity. Play is about give and take. Play is experimentation. When you're playing, you joyfully knock over the tower you just built, just to see how it crumbles.

None of those things are compatible with fear.


How could you make it fun to do the thing you're afraid of?

Could writing, or filming, or designing, or coding literally the goofiest ebomb you can think of make it possible for you to ship it? After all, it's all a big joke!

Can you do something humorous with your pricing?

Can you make the tiniest product in the space, just to see if you can?

How about the weirdest?

How about the one with the most ridiculous interface?

Can you make whatever you're making unserious and full of jokes?

Can you hide an easter egg inside? (I love to hide jokes and references; my writing is full of 'em, stuff probably no one but me or Alex will catch.)

Can you just… try something and see what happens? The way a curious kid does. Just mash some stuff together and watch it play out. A fun experiment, rather than a fraught Very Important Decision on which rests the rest of your future.

I really think this is one of a few major differences between procrastinators and frozen folks, and high-power folks who execute and execute and make mistakes and pick themselves up and execute some more, only wiser and smarter.

We're always curious to find out what happens. Can we do it? Will it work? How far is too far? What happens if I push this button, or pull that lever?

We don't emotionally overweight everything we do. We don't really worry about what people will think, or what they'll say if it doesn't work out; we may care, and we'll take it into account, when it's important, but we don't worry.

There's no room for worry.

We're playing.