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It’s Good to Feel Stupid: 5 Thoughts on Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt

It’s Good to Feel Stupid: 5 Thoughts on Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt

I was lifting with the owner of my gym. She was doing clean and jerks. I was squatting. In between sets, I asked if she had ever competed in an Olympic weightlifting meet. “You should do one. They are a lot of fun and you’re definitely built to be a weightlifter.”

“That’s what everyone tells me, but I don’t know,” she responded. “Competitions make me kind of nervous. I just think: what if I miss this lift and all of these people see it?” Let’s pause for a moment.

Remember, this is someone who OWNS a gym. She misses lifts every single week and sees hundreds of other people do the same. And yet here she is, letting her fear of being judged prevent her from doing something that she’d like to do. This little conversation reminded me of why I hate “fear–based decision making” and got me thinking about the importance of overcoming fear. Let’s talk about how you can get past fear and self–doubt and do the things that you want to do.

Fear–Based Decision Making

Fear–based decision making is when you let your fears or worries dictate your actions (or, in most cases, your lack of action).

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For example…

  • “I’d love to visit Africa, but what if something bad happens while I’m there? I’ll go somewhere else instead.”
  • “I’d love to write a book, but what if people hate it? Maybe I should read more before I start writing.”
  • “I’d love to get in shape, but what if I look stupid at the gym? I need to lose some weight before I go.”

The unfortunate result is that you don’t do the things that you say are important to you. Just to be clear, I’ve made this mistake many times myself. In fact, for two years I came up with all sorts of reasons for why I shouldn’t start this very website. I’ve also come up with excuses for not building businesses, not starting projects, not applying to schools, not applying to jobs, and on and on.

In other words, this is a mistake that we all make. But, that doesn’t mean it’s alright to continue making it. After all of my mistakes, there are a few rules of thumb that I now try to keep in mind…

1. Don’t pick goals where the stakes are low.

When the gym owner chooses to avoid competition and only miss lifts in her home gym, it’s a way of keeping the stakes low. But failing in a safe zone is just a clever way of holding yourself back. If you fail inside your comfort zone, it’s not really failure, it’s just maintaining the status quo. If you never feel uncomfortable, then you’re never trying anything new.

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In other words, feeling stupid is a good thing.

2. Nobody is rooting for you to fail.

Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. For the most part, nobody cares one way or the other. This is a good thing! The world is big and you are small, and that means you can chase your dreams with little worry for what people think.

3. Just because you don’t like where you have to start from doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started.

I wish I was a better writer when I started writing. I wish I was a smarter entrepreneur when I started building businesses. I wish I was a better photographer when I picked up a camera. But more than anything, I’m glad I chose to start even though I wasn’t very good in the beginning. Feelings of fear and uncertainty have a way of making you feel unprepared.

  • “I should learn more before I take this test.”
  • “I should practice more before I compete.”
  • “I should get this degree before I start this business.”

Here’s a tough question that forces you to consider the opposite side: How long will you put off what you’re capable of doing just to maintain what you’re currently doing?

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4. Stop making uncertain things, certain.

Who says you’re going to fail? Just because someone else got rejected from that job doesn’t mean you will. Maybe the publisher hated your friend’s book, but that doesn’t mean they’ll hate yours. Maybe you tried to lose weight before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lose it now.

You’re not destined to “miss that lift.” In fact, maybe you’re destined to succeed. Stop acting like failure is certain. It’s not.

5. The only real failure is not taking any action in the first place.

We all deal with feelings of fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability. And unfortunately, most of us let those feelings dictate our actions. For this reason, the simple decision to act is often enough to separate you from most people. You don’t need to be great at what you do, you just need to be the one person who actually decides to do it.

You can enjoy a lot of success by doing the things that most people make excuses to avoid.

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James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares science-based ideas for living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance by 10x, join his free newsletter.

This article was originally published on JamesClear.com.

Featured photo credit: Dave via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

Ah, camping. The great outdoors, the campfires, the food you’d never eat in civilised society: it’s a wonderful experience.

That said, things can get a little bit tricky when we are left to the mercy of Mother Nature. Here are 30 fantastic camping hacks you can use to make your camping experience as wonderful as possible!

 1. Use sage to repel mosquitoes.

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    photoshelter.com

    Place some sage in your campfire and the smell is sure to ward off any pesky mosquitos.

    2. Liquid soap + cotton balls = no ticks.

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      crateandbarrel.com

      If you or one of your fellow campers is having trouble with a tick, place the soap-soaked cotton on the tick for 20 seconds. The tick will eventually stop chewing and will come away with the cotton ball. If the tick was attached for a lengthy amount of time you may want to consider keeping it in a container so that you can test it for Lyme disease later.

      3. Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost.

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        smallhomebigstart.com

        It’s remarkably easy to get lost whilst camping. Here’s a full tutorial on how you can transform an acorn into a whistle!

        4. Corn chips for kindling!

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          Doritos are a great way to start a fire, just be careful!

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          5. Use the rest of the chips for nachos.

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            buzzfeed.com

            Nachos are easy to pack, light and simple to make. Plus they’re incredibly tasty.

            6. Use compact, microfibre towels!

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              rei.com

              These towels are incredibly easy to store and dry within an hour of use. Buy them here.

              7. Wrap duct-tape around your water bottle for emergencies.

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                briangreen.net

                You never know when you might need some.

                8. Make lamps out of jars and solar disks.

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                  campwander.com

                  Get all the info you need here.

                  9. Sangria!

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                    gastfamilyrecipes.blogspot.co.uk

                    We know what’s really important. How to here!

                    10. One water bottle will hold eight eggs.

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                      cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot

                      By keeping all your eggs in a bottle you save time and hassle. Plus, no need to carry extra bowls or a whisk!

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                      11. Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil is a surprisingly good mosquito repellent.

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                        buzzfeed.com

                        Keep the bugs and the bug repellent smell at bay.

                        12. DIY shower.

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                          instructables.com

                          All you need is a watering can and a large jug. Here’s the full instructions.

                          13. Keep sandpaper handy to light matches.

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                            craftaholicsanonymous.net

                            Glueing some sandpaper to the lid of a tupperware box where you can also store matches is a foolproof plan.

                            14. Make s’moreos easily.

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                              snackhacks.org

                              15. MarshJell-o shots.

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                                tablespoon.com

                                Learn how to make these delicious things here!

                                16. Or dip those marshmallows in Bailey’s. 
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                                  Toast the marshmallow first and then dip it in Bailey’s.

                                  17. Turn a bottle into a spoon.

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                                    buzzfeed.com

                                    It’s that easy!

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                                    18. Grits repel ants.

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                                      sleepychef.com

                                      Just sprinkle grits wherever you see ants.

                                      19. Deodorant can be used to combat itchiness.

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                                        wikihow.com

                                        20. Wrap your meat in cabbage to stop it from burning.

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                                          That’s not an innuendo, it really will! The moistness in the cabbage creates the perfect barrier.

                                          21. Foam noodles will stop any injuries.

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                                            andybaird.com

                                            For any fellow clumsy people, you know how possible it is to smack your head and cause serious injury. Placing a foam noodle on the awning strut narrows down at least one accident waiting to happen.

                                            22. Carry some essentials in a small tin with you at all times.

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                                              fieldandstream.com

                                              You never know what you’ll need and when.

                                              23. Take toothpaste dots instead of a whole tube.

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                                                ruggedthuglife.com

                                                Let the drops dry out over 3 days, add a little baking soda and put them in a resealable bag.

                                                24. Use a stick to secure your tent.

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                                                  survivormedic.com

                                                  By placing a stick in the main centre line you ensure the pressure is even throughout, which will stop the grommets being pulled out.

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                                                  25. Vacuum seal your food before you leave.

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                                                    livingonalatte.com

                                                    26. Popcorn on the campfire.

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                                                      kookyculinary.com

                                                      Popcorn that you can place on the stove at home can also be popped over a campfire. You can also make your own using this tutorial.

                                                      27. You can even make bacon and eggs over it.

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                                                        realfamilycamping.blogspot.co.uk

                                                        That’s right! Full instructions here.

                                                        28. Keep your toiletries handy.

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                                                          myshowerline.com

                                                          Buy this magnificent contraption here.

                                                          29. Compact, unbreakable cups!

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                                                            reuseit.com

                                                            Get them while you can!

                                                            30. Tic-Tac boxes are great for storing ingredients.

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                                                              seattlesundries.com

                                                              With these 30 camping tips and tricks, you can work DIY magic into nearly every aspect of camping, and make your next camping trip a comfortable, easy blast. Good luck!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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