in Thoughts & Observations

Fear Of How

Nothing scares me more then How.

I look back at all of my failures, half completed projects and ideas that inspired me but not enough for me to take action; and the thing that ties them together is the ‘How

In my childhood years, how didn’t really exist. I’d see a tree, tell myself I’m getting to the top, things would just happen and I’d be making wolf howling sounds from the highest branch.

I saw people roller skating backwards and doing tricks, bought a pair of skates (or rather, begged my Dad to buy me a pair) and bruised/scraped my knees and elbows 200+ times until I could skate backwards and do tricks too.

I never stopped for a second to debate how I was getting to an end point before just getting started with it.

Sure, I got frustrated and failed, often painfully, a bunch of times. I still have old scar marks from when I tried spinning on my skates while going a little too fast, and from tree branches snapping under my chubby pre-teen frame.

I’d sometimes get wrapped up in little things that stopped progress too, like arguing with the neighbor girl over whether ‘blades’ or ‘quads’ were cooler. I appreciate both these days, although quads have the retro quality to them and are more comfortable 😉

But, despite the shiny, glittery things that distract the mind of a 10 year old (“ooh, new transformer toys”), I was accomplishing things at a rate that would make David Allen envious.

These days, as soon as I get a new idea or am presented with a cool concept or goal, my brain stops in it’s tracks and ponders “how the hell am I going to do that”.

The how is a trigger for the brain to start highlighting my fears. “Am I smart enough”, “what will happen if I don’t hit the mark”, “should I even try?” – all responses to the How question I instinctively ask myself when presented with a challenge.

My solution as of late has been to ignore the how, and focus instead on immediately assessing the value of overcoming a challenge when it’s presented. If it’s worth it – get started and the how will come; either I’ll dig in to that experience bank I’ve been building to guide me, or I end up just figuring it out/bluffing/mac-guyvering my way through it. Often the approach involves a lot of both.

The strange thing I’m noticing is that a lot of, if not all, people are doing exactly the same. That lad or ladette who you thought knew everything about the game, they’re likely stumbling their way through too – figuring out things as they go and drawing on experience when they can. They just started earlier, and probably had to get over their fear of how, just like you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just noticed a tree that looks ripe for climbing.

Photo Credit: Historias Visuales cc

  1. Brudda, good to see another post from you, I dug this one.

    I find that the goals or objectives that I actually follow through on are the ones I have a clear understanding of the “Why”.

    – why is this important to me?
    – why do I think I should do this?
    – why not?


    • DT,

      I agree man, the why is all that matters, if that is decided, the how will come.
      I guess that’s a whole other post, understanding the why 😉

  2. Good read, man. Getting started is the hardest part, but my advice is “just do it”. People plan way too much these days. You’ll figure it out as you go along, adapting strategy and process as changes occur.

  3. While I can ID with what you are saying, there’s only one response I can give:

    You’re getting old.

    Don’t worry, it only gets worse from here on out.

  4. Oi,

    Deep, I’m still trying to work out the How and the why, but your perspective has dragged me closer to the answer. I don’t know how!


  5. Ha I so needed to read something like this right now. It’s easy to get swept up in the “omg everyone else knows exactly how to build these amazing businesses and I’m just floundering on the sidelines” mentality, I forget that they probably went through the same phase (or just hide it better than me). Thank you 🙂

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