Letter #6 – Fear, growth, confidence, success
From: Brett Trapp – Nov 13, 2011
To: Brett Trapp – Nov 13, 2001
Here’s a wild idea for personal growth. I want you to practice it a lot over the next ten years because I fear know you won’t do it enough. Ready?
Attempt things that you are not equipped to do.
Start a business.
Launch a project for a good cause.
Give a presentation to people a lot smarter than you.
Move to a city where you’re a nobody.
Try something crazy at work.
You’ll never grow if you only do things you’re trained or schooled in. We’re confident in those things. But we don’t grow when we’re confident. We grown when we’re scared.
Scared of what others will think.
Scared of not having what it takes.
Scared of failing.
Fear is the driving force of our species. It paralyzes people and prevents them from doing amazing things. They ride around life in the back of a cop car with their hands pinned behind their back, gazing out on a world full of motion and life. After a while, they get comfortable in that seat, and days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into years. Years turn into a life. And they eventually fall asleep back there and never wake up. Life has passed them by.
But when we respond to fear rightly, it becomes this explosive force for growth. Human nature is to flee scary things. But we should be running towards some scary things. Especially when those things pertain to our hopes, dreams, and goals. Save the fleeing for bears and sharks.
Brett, in your 20s, attempt some things that you are not equipped to do.
But let me issue a reminder: Read the first sentence of this letter again.
[seriously....do it now]
Notice that I didn’t say this was a wild idea for success. I said it was a wild idea for personal growth. You may very well attempt something new and fail miserably. But in failing, you’ll grow and learn. And that’s where the beauty is. You do this enough, and you’ll become wiser. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to cobble together enough wisdom to find some success. And with each success, your confidence will grow a little more.
Life is a dance with both confidence and fear. If you only dance with confidence–doing things you’re well-equipped for–you become satisfied, stagnant, stuck. If you only dance with fear–always running from things you’re not equipped for–you become timid, skittish, paralyzed. When you dance with both, you find this really lovely place where our fear fuels growth, growth fuels confidence, and confidence fuels success.
Remember this, Brett.
P.S. You can become a billionaire by making the internet more social: Think faces. Think books.