Day Thirty-Six: Inspiration Stuff 2 – MetaFilter

Wow! So I’ve been a member of MetaFilter, the best community on the Internet, for a while now. I thought I’d ask for short motivational thoughts there, and as always, they excelled.

There’s a treasure trove to explore in that thread, but I don’t want this to become a megapodcast, so I’m just going to pick one or two things a day.

Today, I’m a big fan of user liber hair‘s proposal of “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.  He mentions Sheryl Sandberg as his source of the quote; i t may be older than her, but she definitely said it.

Inspiration in a constant state of anxiety

I wouldn’t say I’m afraid as much as anxious, but I am anxious an awful lot of the time. Doing the wrong thing is something that weighs on me pretty consistently. It’s not always a paralyzing state, but it is sometimes.

There are a couple of outpoints to anxiety, too — one is what anxiety prevents me from doing. I don’t know if I’m going to succeed at this. That makes me anxious. So I don’t try it. I don’t feel confident about that. So I won’t do it. Anxiety… fear… keeps me from things.

But anxiety also drives me to things. What is drinking but a response to anxiety? It’s literally a toxin whose effects dull my natural threat sensors. Maybe overcalibrated threat sensors, but that’s essentially what’s going on there, right?

If I think of people I know that don’t drink, and are public and open about not drinking, “afraid” is not an adjective that applies to them. They do not seem like afraid people. But if I think of people that know they should stop drinking, but don’t… there’s often a lot of fear there, when I think about it.

So “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” kind of works on two levels for me. It’s a single-problem motivator… I don’t want to try this, I don’t want to do this. Get rid of your fear and do it.

But on another level, it works as kind of a big switch as well. Would you drink if you weren’t afraid? Would you be stress-eating if you weren’t afraid? And then you focus on what you’re afraid of and how to attack that, rather than just doing things to alleviate that constant state of anxiety and fear.

I’m liking Inspiration Week! This works for me.