Every time you’re afraid of doing something new and different, describe your fear to yourself in complete sentences. Include, in detail, the worst-case scenarios.
Suppose you’re on holiday in Tokyo, you’re sitting with a travel companion in a crowded Starbucks, and you discover it’s his birthday. The obvious thing to do here is to climb onto your chair, and to rouse the assembled coffeedrinkers into joining you for a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday to You”.
But something holds you back. You are suddenly reticent. Let us be clear – reticence is a form of fear; and fear is to be fought, always, everywhere, with all the fervour and wit that one can muster.
Ask yourself what you are afraid of. You’ll come up with something like:
Everyone will look at me. And what if no-one joins in? I’ll feel a fool …
It is crucial that you not stop there. Keep digging.
Okay, I won’t feel a fool for long. And I’ll never see any of these people again. It’s not like my ranking in my particular social hierarchy will fall. But what if it gets really bad?
How bad is really bad?
Um … we get thrown out of the store.
So you high five your buddy and laugh all the way around the block into another cafe.
What if Warner Music chases me down for royalties?
Sing the fucking song.