Issue #26

E is for Everything

“What’s on the other side of fear? Nothing.” - Jamie Foxx

Something about that 'Nothing'

Doubt and fear are among the worst enemies of the creative, curious and adventurous mind. When these destructive wonder twins aren't trying to convince me I'm old because my brother turned the big 3-0 this week or that I am unfit for entrepreneurship, they're laying out detailed storylines of my demise that often end with this line from "Bridget Jones's Diary":

"[You'll] finally die, fat and alone, and be found 3 weeks later, half eaten by wild dogs."

Yes, fear and doubt are not only unoriginal, they lift lines from Bridget Jones. Why not Star Wars ("Never tell me the odds!"), Casablanca ("Here's lookin' at you, kid.") or the 1942 comedy To Be Or Not To Be, lines of which appear in this song from Wax Tailor, ("I have the key in my hand; all I have to find is the lock.")?

Here's why: our minds naturally skew negative. It's an evolutionary hand-me-down -- an ancestor's ugly sweater we're forced to wear. We ruminate and negative scenario plan constantly, especially women. We can wrap ourselves up in stories that are not true, convincing ourselves that we are somehow predicting the future. The fact is, we're better at multitasking than we are at predicting the future. (Note: We can't multitask.)

"The difficulty isn’t that we have negative thoughts. The problem comes when we believe our thoughts are true." - Barbara Markaway, Ph.D.

The good news is that we developed this negative thinking tendency to help us solve problems. Much as envy can be used to help us identify what we want, fear and doubt can be used to help us identify what we need.

For example, I fear I am bad at business development, and I doubt I'll find good business opportunities. So, I need to start researching opportunities and test my pitch by talking to more people about the challenges they face, how I might help them and the value I offer. 

If you try this reframe and it works for you, let me know. Hopefully, this week's issue helps you see fear and doubt (and other related issues) more clearly and gives you a moment to identify your needs hiding behind them. 

An update on 'Everything'

Before we jump to this week's stories on fear and doubt, there was a lot going on over on E is for Everything this week. We have our first guest writer! Thanks to Parker Gates for sharing his piece with us. If you're interested in contributing to the publication, I'd love to collaborate with you and explore what you're curious about. Also, thanks to Bing Han for her help on the newsletter this week! As always, if you like what you see here, please support E is for Everything on Patreon

Nothing to fear here, folks...

Now, let's dive into this week's stories. I found a number of stories this week that could have gotten the job done. There was the story of an entrepreneur coping with self-doubt:

"The worst thing you can do is give in to the powerful urge to distract yourself. Don’t pick up your phone, write a blog post, read an inspirational quote or get on Twitter to see how many new followers you have. Self-doubt is important. It's not something you want to sweep under the rug. You want to pay attention and see where it takes you."

Then there's the seven-steps listicle, including:

"Design a plan. Sit down and plan out a strategy for defeating your doubt. Make an educated decision about what to do next. Choose a path that you think will lead to conquering your doubts. Next, put your plan down in writing."

Then there was this piece on using data points to defeat doubt:

"Do something, get feedback, keep doing it, get better at it, get feedback all along the way, and see what the data says. Put your doubts to test, let them be disproven. And when the results finally come in, and you know what reality really looks like, be proud of yourself for at least putting the doubts to test."

There is a lot out there on doubt and fear. But the following pieces take a more indirect approach. Enjoy. 

The Big, Scary 5:

Thank you to our patrons!

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These folks have generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about both them and their projects.

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