Don’t Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

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.

The featured image from this post is that of me during a bike ride in Japan a couple of days after the bad one. I was so very happy on this day.

By | 2014-04-16T08:35:43+00:00 April 16th, 2014|Thoughts and Inspiration|6 Comments


  1. Emme Rogers 21/04/2014 at 20:46 - Reply

    Well said Jamie!

    If you do something everyday that instills fear in you, then all you do is focus on the fear, and miss out on everything else that’s going on. That is no way to live … at least enjoyably.

  2. The Guy 17/04/2014 at 13:24 - Reply

    I much prefer your approach Jamie than the quote. Like you I’ve never quite understood except for thinking about getting the adrenaline rushing and a healthy challenge to the heart.

    I love the picture of you flying off the bike by the way, great action picture.

    I’m with you on the cycling. Why does it have to be so dangerous in so many places? Scary stuff indeed.

    • Jamie 24/04/2014 at 02:40 - Reply

      I hope cyclists become more accepted globally as it is a great way to travel, good for health, and doesn’t harm the planet either. It shouldn’t be a scary experience.

  3. Steven 16/04/2014 at 15:12 - Reply

    I couldn’t agree more Jamie.
    There are so many ridiculous cliches out there that really aren’t what they are made out to be.
    Being scared on a roller coaster? Great idea!
    Being scared that you might die under the wheels of a taxi? Plain stupid!

  4. agentlabroad 16/04/2014 at 13:34 - Reply

    The plus side of being frightened, I argue, (although I’ve been nearly run off the road far fewer times than you, I imagine) is that when you get through it, you learn what you no longer need to fear.

    • Jamie 24/04/2014 at 02:38 - Reply

      That is true. In the case of my recent bike ride however, I know that I still need to fear crazy drivers in Korea!

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