Go, Do That: An Experiment in Understanding Fear, Failure and Focus

The Introduction:

I’ve not written intentionally for quite some time and I can feel the creak in my soul. I find I’m more accountable to my thoughts when I write them down. I feel like a wave far off in the ocean, preparing to someday crash on a distant shore. I’m nearing the break and the crash, the arrival.  I’m excited and nervous to begin again. The more I think about this endeavor, the scarier the prospect becomes.

The point of the blog will be to battle fear. Over the last several years, I kept a running list of quotes that I added to whenever I read something that struck me as memorable. Only recently did I revisit the list of quotes as a whole and realize that they all said the same thing: people are scared, but acting, even in the face of fear and failure, produces better lives and stories. Unintentionally, or perhaps providentially, it was only quotes that resonated with that message that got added to this running list.

What was it about these particular quotes that tugged at me enough to save them together in a word document simply titled, “Quotes”?  Something deep within me resonated with the idea understanding fear, failure and focus.  Looking at the quotes collectively, they all say, in so many words, “Life can sometimes be hard and you will often fail big, but why let that stop you from going and trying to do something that could change the world?”  I love that idea and after revisiting it throughout the past several years, I’ve grown to understand it in new ways.

This blog started as my blog when I studied abroad in New Zealand.  You can go here to read that story from the beginning.  I contemplated starting a new blog on a new site, but I find it comforting to continue my writing here, where I first learned to love it.  My writing was my living, not the dollars and cents “living,” but rather that what I was writing was my story and my story was my life.  My goal was to live a life worth telling.  And it still is.

It’s been almost two years since I first left for New Zealand and my life since then has shown me that you don’t have to leave home to go somewhere and do something that could change the world.  The world is here, right where I am and I am a part of it.  I started the NZ blog with the idea of keeping the folks back home informed of what was going on in my life, but writing came to mean much more to me than simply recording life’s events.  The ordinary events I was doing were made extraordinary because of their location, distance and unfamiliarity.  Two years later, I am in Columbus, Ohio and ready to write about an ordinary life made extraordinary by participating in events marked by their location, distance and unfamiliarity.  I don’t have to leave home to do something worth telling.

So, this blog will feature one quote per entry and I will explain my thoughts on why it strikes me as memorable and worth valuing. After my thoughts, each post will end with a challenge. I will challenge myself to get uncomfortable, act in a way where success and safety is not guaranteed and trust that what ensues will build me up as a person and affect positive change in some way to those around me. Each challenge will then feature a follow-up entry on what happened in the wake of the challenge and I’ll share what I learned.  The format will look something like this:

Post 1.1
The Quote:
The Thoughts:
The Challenge:
Post 1.2
The Reflection:

I said the point of this blog was to battle fear and that’s what I mean to do.  Fear of failure, success, the unknown, the unfamiliar, the challenging, the risky, the letting go of apathy, of vulnerability, of complete unexpectedness.  Yikes!  Now, I tell myself,
“Go, do that.”

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