James Altucher recently interviewed Seth Godin on fear, anxiety and doing work that matters. They discuss the separation between the Do-ers and the Sitters, those who put themselves in the game and those who watch from the sidelines wishing they could play.
One of the main categorical differences is fear: the Do-ers don’t let it stop them. They find ways to circumnavigate their anxiety so that slowly, overtime, they can act and experience, learning tactics to manage stress along the way. The Sitters haven’t quite figured out how to conquer their fear. Paralyzed, they’re crippled by the weight of self-expectation and prediction.
Seth brings up an excellent point (41:25): no one learning to ski signs up for heli-skiing. First, they hit the bunny slopes, building up their skills before dropping down black diamonds and exploring out-of-bounds terrain. Some start climbing mountains. With adrenaline pulsing through their veins, they crave more — a greater rush, bigger accomplishments, challenge. Perhaps THEN they purchase a heli-tour to destinations they never before imagined navigating on skis.
Not everyone enjoys heli-skiing, or even skiing for that matter. We have different thresholds for anxiety and adrenaline. Your task is to find your edge, the line that seems scary to cross. The place you are most true to yourself, where your best and most meaningful work await. That moment you’re afraid. That’s when you have to sign yourself up.
Maybe you find that jumping-out-of-a-plane feeling writing silently at your desk. It might be ten minutes of scribbling in a private journal. A comment placed on a public forum. Emails sent to authors you admire. A site launch to publish your ideas.
We’re more forgiving to athletes than we are to ourselves.