Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Where the normal person reads this quote and probably considers it somewhat neat and moves on, I read it and consider it completely life changing. Hence, the “Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You Pledge.”
So here’s the idea – everyday, I have to do something that I wouldn’t do otherwise. Something that scares me. Luckily, I’m pretty easy to scare, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. If I were Ryan Gosling, for example, what would I have to be afraid of? I’m the best looking guy on the planet and have millions of dollars. I’m not afraid of s***.
Now, me, Shaun El-Ters, on the other hand, I’m afraid of everything. Spiders. Situations where I’m forced to engage in small talk. Confrontation. Having to choose between turkey and ham. Large crowds. The list goes on and on. For me, this quote takes on a whole new meaning.
How have I gone about satisfying this pledge? Lots of ways! Asking for the number of the cute coffee shop girl. Taking on projects at work that are out of my league and I’m probably not qualified for. Striking up conversation with strangers. Tweeting Anna Kendrick to interview on our show. There’s really no end, but literally everything is scary.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, why have I pledged to do something so miserable? Well, I like it because I feel like it pushes me into experiences and situations that I wouldn’t get to have. Normally, if I’m presented with something, I think about doing it, and then I don’t because it would take too much effort to expand beyond my comfort zone and actually do it. Well, now, I have a reason to embrace those situation and just go for it, consequences be damned. And I suppose, in some small, immeasurable way (as of yet), it allows me to confront and overcome these fears.
That’s not to say it’s all been sunshine and roses. Today, for example, I made a joke with a girl who was afflicted with “permanent bitch face.” She didn’t flinch, responded with a bitchy remark, and then turned and talked to a guy afflicted with “permanent tool face.” Strike out there. And Anna Kendrick has not yet responded to my twitter solicitation, if you can believe it.
It’s a risk/reward system, but the reward is SO worth it – doing something that I know I would have surpassed, only to instead go for it and succeed in some small way, is incredibly fulfilling. When I went skydiving, it was satisfying on so many levels because it was such a significant victory – doing this exercise is like obtaining a bunch of smaller, less impactful skydiving victories. And, best of all, when I do crash and burn, it’s at the expense of a slight, or perhaps wounded pride, and not my straight up death.
At the end of the day, “Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You” gives me an excuse to satisfy my cheesy-ass philosophy that life is about the experiences and memories you collect along the way, and the worst thing you can do is live within your comfort zone and stay static. Thank you all for listening – this actually satisfies my Friday fear of sharing this pledge.