There is a saying that goes something like this:
Do one thing every day that scares you
Bollocks to that.
It’s not fun to be scared and I sure as hell don’t want to be scared every day if I can help it.
As I cycled from Mokpo to Busan, I was scared on multiple occasions. I was scared that I would be knocked off my bicycle by reckless drivers and end up badly hurt. Or worse. Cars came too close to me at high speed, others pulled out in-front of me as I approached, and all in all, these occurrences made for an unpleasant experience.
Am I glad for having been scared? No.
Did I gain anything from being scared? No.
These near misses ruined my bike ride and forced me to change my plans.
If someone said to me that I could again live through that same day of treacherous riding in exchange for a gift, I would have to turn it down (unless of course it was a working pirate galleon or unicorn brought to life). I cannot see what could possibly be worth being afraid like that. I want to push myself, to learn, to have new experiences, but I don’t want to be scared without reward. It’s not fun being scared.
Don’t do one thing every day that scares you for the pure bloody mindedness of doing it.
Do many things every day that help you learn, push your limits, help you grow as a person, make your heart beat faster: things that offer you reward
Not quite as catchy is it?
In summary, push yourself, always push yourself, but do something that scares you only if the reward outweighs the fear. And listen to yourself more than others.
In 2012, I decided to hitchhike around Europe by myself. I slept outside and travelled with very little money. The thought of this journey made me somewhat nervous and I delayed my departure, yet I did it because I hoped that my reward would outweigh my fears…. and it did. A million times over. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I kept going for nearly six months. I learnt, I pushed myself, I had new experiences. I have now written a book about this journey, concerning fear and hitchhiking. It is called The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World and if you are interested in reading a book that shows an adventure from a non-epic, anxious sort of view, check it out: you can even download a sample for free by clicking here.