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On Fear

I’ve been working on this project. It requires a significant investment of time and thus a considerable amount of risk. That is to say, I ‘ll either fail this or don’t eat. Basic needs are not my motivation. My motivation is the fear that I am wasting my own time.

We are walking sacks of meat with timers counting backwards till’ death, hovering above our heads. I could waste away in style; buy the nice car, nice house, make the nice family, and wake up everyday to make the payments necessary to afford those luxuries. But I’m not content with complacency. If I’m anxious about the outcome, I’m headed in the right direction.

Predicting our own failure is an unfortunate flaw in the human wiring. If I don’t do it, if I don’t try to realize my own goals, then how do I know if I’m wasting my time? How can you lose when you haven’t even started playing the game? That mental barrier that de-motivates you before action is a product of our flawed, internal risk assessment mechanism.

Take a chance. Ask that girl out. Send that letter. Call that relative. Invest that time or money. So she turns you down, you get a return to sender, that relative hangs up, and the startup fails—you’ve lost nothing but time that would have been wasted wondering “what if I…”

If you aren’t a little bit scared, you’re doing something wrong.


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