“Get busy living or get busy dying.” – Stephen King
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We live most of our lives in fear. We are afraid to be alone. We are afraid of trying new things. Most of all, we are afraid of failure. This single fear prevents many of us from doing the things we want to do.
The question is not whether we have fear, the question is why. While I don’t claim to know why anyone else has fear, I do know why I am afraid.
I am afraid that I am not enough. I am afraid of other people’s judgments. I am afraid that I will fail.
Fear is a powerful de-motivator. When we are afraid, we don’t take action. We stay inside our comfort zone. We are trapped in a bubble.
While our fears will never go away, we can acknowledge them and let them go. If we let fear win, we have given in to death. In the words immortalized by Drake, “You only live once.”
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”
– H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Nothing in life is guaranteed. We should be grateful every day we wake up. It can all disappear so quickly. No one knows what comes after death, so we should spend our time living in the now instead of some distant future.
If you are waiting for permission to live your life, here it is. That doesn’t mean you need to be a reckless or live your life like a daredevil. It means finding out what lights you up inside. Live the life you want to lead. Don’t let everyone else tell you how to live your life. Don’t go to your deathbed with all your regrets.
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Picture by Philipp
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King
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Our revolutionary ancestors lived in a time where they always had to be on high alert. I’m not talking about Medieval or even Ancient times. I’m talking about our cave dwelling ancestors.
Humans have lived on Earth for a minuscule amount of time relative to the age of the Earth. Evolutionarily speaking, we have evolved very little in that amount of time. We still have the same fight or flight instincts that helped keep our ancestors safe.
Their fear was in reaction to the large prey animals that roamed among us. If they were not prepared to fight off the larger predators, they would have died off like other species, and we would not be here.
Since that time, we have built thriving civilizations and have lived in relative safety. We no longer need to be in a high state of alert. Yet, we still have those fight or flight reactions. Our instincts are no longer used to protect us from danger. We feel them when we encounter something new.
Were you deathly scared before giving a speech in front of a large crowd for the first time? Did your stomach churn before going on your first roller coaster? Are you afraid of starting a business and working on your own?
These are all fight or flight reactions. In these moments, we enter a heightened state of awareness. Unlike our ancestors, we aren’t in serious danger. Our bodies are telling us to pay attention to the situation at hand.
Instead of fearing these new situations, we need to understand our reactions to them. Once we do, we will be better prepared to react. Beginning new things can be scary, but if you can hone that anticipation into productive energy, you can conquer your fear. You can overcome the initial bump that scares most people off. If you do, you will be one step closer to success.
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Stephen Pirie is the director of many companies including Nurture Change, Unleash Travel, and Spirit of Sharing. Through these companies, Stephen is creating retreats for business leaders, building a safe travel experience for youths from New Zealand and Australia, and giving back to the youths of Fiji.
Shawn Coss grew up loving cartoons, but never dreamed it could become his full-time job. He grew up in a time and place where art wasn’t considered a viable career.
His dad told him he should get a “real job” instead of pursuing his dreams. The thought was, you could only be a professional artist if you went to an art institute, or learned at Disney. Like most people who grow up in difficult financial situations, Shawn’s dad didn’t want Shawn to grow up with the same hardships he had to go through.
Shawn hit his first break when he met Kris Wilson of Cyanhide and Happiness through MySpace. Kris liked Shawn’s work so much, that he invited him to work on the C&H team.
Cyanide and Happiness provided Shawn enough financial stability to start his own clothing company, Any Means Necessary. One of the clothing company’s campaigns, Inktober, brought an influx of fans and attention.
This brings Shawn to a an exciting but difficult crossroads. Should he go all-in on his company or keep it as a side hustle.
In this episode, Shawn talks about why there’s no formula for becoming a popular artist, defining success on your own terms, and why running an art business is such hard work, among many other things.
Amy Oestreicher thought she had her life all figured out. Ever since she was young, she felt she was born to perform. She was all set to go to college for musical theater when medical complications derailed everything.
During her senior year of high school Amy started having stomach pains. When she went into surgery to fix it, her stomach shot out of her body and she went into a coma for months. She spent years and many surgeries in hospitals trying to reach some semblance of normalcy.
During this trying time, Amy turned to creativity to help keep her busy. She started painting and she even developed her own one person play based on all of her troubles and overcoming adversity.
With one play in the books, and another on the way, Amy is the prime example of what it means to persevere.
In this episode, Amy talks about being a detourist, being more capable than we think we are, and how our creativity benefits from taking small risks.
Angela Lussier is a coach, public speaker, and author of three books. In this episode Angela talks about her journey towards creating her own business, how to overcome the imposter syndrome, why you need to live by your own rules, and the importance of play.
Cynthia Morris is an author, illustrator, and the creator Original Impulse. She has turned many of her ideas to reality from completing a novel to running creativity workshops in Paris. In this episode, Cynthia talks about the struggles of a creative life, listening to your inner artist, and the need to create our own stories.
Here are three things you can learn from Cynthia:
Charlie Gilkey is is the creator of Productive Flourishing and the host of the Creative Giants podcast. He describes himself as the result of mashing up an entrepreneur, Army officer, and philosopher. In this episode, Charlie talks about mindsets, business, and the power of art.
Colin McCann is a web developer who is trying to revolutionize the way we view productivity. In this episode Colin talks about his take on productivity and how he approaches his goals, taking on such an ambitious project, and how beliefs can have a huge impact on self-improvement.
Lee Moyer is a polymath and illustrator who has been working for over 35 years. He has worked with book publishers, theaters, and game developers among many other things. In this episode, we talk about a lot of topics including learning from others, how to handle criticism and information overload, and his Kickstarter project The Doom that Came to Atlantic City.