The “Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You” Pledge

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***.

Porcelain dolls terrify me.
Porcelain dolls terrify me.

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.

The beauty if paralyzing.
The beauty is paralyzing.

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.

This cat and I scare each other in an endless loop of fear.
This cat and I scare each other in an endless loop of fear.

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.

This dolphin is horrific.
This dolphin is horrific.

11 thoughts on “The “Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You” Pledge

  1. I like profound quotes like the Eleanor Roosevelt one. What you are doing is admirable and it’s something I’ve applied in my own life in recent years. Fear of a lot of things have held me back and I realized I didn’t want it to run my life. I’ve went out of my comfort zone in a lot of things already. I can’t say I was successful in some of the things I did do, but it helped me realize that what I thought was scary really wasn’t at all. I wish you luck in conquering all your fears! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I wish BOTH of us luck with it! It’s not easy, but I think it’s a really been really valuable already…not to mention sort of fun, in its own way, haha

      1. It kind of is actually. It boosts your confidence levels a good deal, as I have found. At least I feel way more confident in the last few years than I did in high school and college. Here’s to both of us tackling scary things!

  2. It should be noted everyone, that this pledge apparently doesn’t extend to touching and or handling 2 inch long sun spiders that we find in our place of residence. Be sure to keep that in mind in case you bump into one while on said pledge. 😉

  3. ARGH! I hate spiders too. I really really hate spiders. Which is weird because I find sharks and snakes and things like that adorable. But dolphins… dolphins are creepy. THEY’RE ONLY FRIENDLY BECAUSE WE’RE AMUSING TO THEM!
    Anyways, I think what you’re doing is awesome! I totally agree with you, it’s important to step out outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge! 😀

    1. Totally, dolphins are too smart to ever be trusted! And yeah, snakes aren’t so bad, really. I mean, I don’t want to sleep with one or anything, but I think spiders are way worse.
      And now they’re going to discover dolphin-spider hybrids. What have we done?

      1. If dolphin-spiders are ever discovered, the world will be so totally f*****. Just think of what they’d look like?! Oh man…no sleep for me tonight…

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