Why should you stay scared?
No, I don’t mean scared like the bubbling undercurrent of impending doom brought on by every single action taken by the current sitting president of the United States.
Nor do i mean the utter terror i feel encountering any kind of spider , except this one:
Now i don’t want to sound like a self-help touting instagram lifestyle blogging preacher here…. But …. I do genuinely believe it is good to keep yourself scared.
Here is why:
Only The ‘Unknown’ is Scary
Can you remember what it felt like to drive for the first time, your first job interview out of school, or buying your first home? Or any other lifetime first which scared the hell out of you, but now you feel fine doing these things because they are not unknown anymore.
When i passed my driving test (When i was 26), within the first few months i was required to drive to Central London in a people carrier with 4 others, a whole load of stock and equipment for a two day shoot as a Brand ambassador photographer, with celebrity ambassadors. I was absolutely bricking it. But i am so glad that i was thrown in at the deep end like that – because i know people who have been driving for 10 years and won’t even go on motorway, let alone weave around cyclists in piccadilly circus at rush hour. When you have done something once, it’s not scary anymore… so keep pushing out further and further until one day there will be nothing that seems daunting.
Fear of Failure
Fear of failure cause us to stagnate in situations of less than optimal productivity and growth. It is the reason people stay in jobs they hate, loveless relationships and often don’t leave the town they grew up in. Fear of failing is understandable, but in most scenarios the failure will not be life changing, so it is worth the risk.
Always be mindful of risk versus reward, don’t take large risks for small return.
I am not advocating being reckless.
However, a lot can be gained from facing the fear of failure and just getting out and creating.
I have had a few High Pressure shoots where the fear of failure has been nearly paralysing in the build up to the actual event. Even for a seasoned Brand ambassador photographer, the anticipation of the event, not knowing 100% how it will tun out, new locations, new crew and new situations can lead to anxiety about the outcome. But do you know what? Even the shoots where i have been unhappy with the end result have been way more successful than my fear-brain thought they would be.
Professional and Personal Development
Stepping out of your comfort zone enough to get those little butterflies fluttering around in your stomach means that your are trying something new. Yes, you may fail. Actually, statistically you WILL fail at some point, probably pretty heavily, but failures are where we gain the most learning. Steven Kotler, a contributor for Forbes stated: “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” . The more we push ourselves to try new things, especially things which are unknown, the more we learn and grow in confidence. The skillset improves the more it is tested. Your knowledge expands by being in new situations. We meet new people and we expand our horizons.
I look back on the work i created 10 years ago, and whilst some of it was okay, i think the vast majority is utter crap. At the time i thought i was doing okay, but time spent expanding my horizons, working on my skillset as a Brand marketing photographer, learning and trying new things has meant that my viewpoint now is completely different
Pushing outside of your comfort zone and into the unknown, forces you to get creative. New levels of creativity can be found just outside that little patch where you normally exist. The people who conquer their fears of the new are the ones who push boundaries, and create new, exciting projects / products. If you feel that you are stagnating and your creativity is suffering, here are some steps you can take:
- Collaborate with others – bounce off each other to create new ideas
- Get out and about – Go for a walk somewhere new
- Do some exercise – Raise your heart rate, good for your general health and for your brain.
- Unplug your phone – Seriously, get off social media, stop looking at cat memes.
- Listen to music
- Get Started – Don’t be afraid to start with something mediocre. Just get working and it will come. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ idea.
- Randomise – ask a friend to pick a theme, or pick a page in a book.
Good For Your Health
Being scared can have excellent health benefits. A slightly raised heartbeat and increases blood pressure, a small hit of adrenaline keeps us alert and ready for anything, oxytocin released helps bonding with friends and colleagues.
Not to mention, if you are regularly scaring yourself, then you are likely experiencing a varied life which will increase happiness.