I remember a long time ago when I started my record label and started selling CDs. One of the first things my “mentor” at the time told me was:
Just go out there and talk to people, it’s the only way you’re going to get sales. You can’t be scared of the word “no”.
He used to say that all of the time:
You can’t be scared of the word “no”.
It hit home with me, and I excelled. I had no worries about approaching people to make sales and therefore, I sold a lot. I outsold all of my peers, my teammates, and when I looked around at them, they just weren’t doing it – they weren’t talking to people. They made excuses.
They’re scared of the word “no”.
Is what my mentor said about them. Maybe it was true.
I never understood why, or what they were scared of, why they didn’t just do it.
When I was in China, I saw something similar with learning Chinese. I was studying ad-hoc, downloading Chinese character apps, talking to random Chinese girls I met in the street and really just trying to pick up as much of the language as I could…. for free.
I knew another Westerner who was in town. She was paying a shit ton of money for a private tutor to learn Chinese. She was learning “all the right things”, but I never heard her.
I never heard her speak the language. Not once. I know she had a private tutor and went to lessons everyday. But she wouldn’t speak the language. Not in front of me anyway.
We would go somewhere – even in the taxi cab, I would look at her and say, “”tell them where we’re going.”
She’d look at me with fear in her eyes, “Nooo!” she’d say, “you tell them.”
So I would. In my butchering awful Chinese I would tell them. Sometimes the taxicab drivers would laugh at me and repeat what I said laughing hysterically. Then guess what they would do?
They would pronounce it correctly and try to get me to repeat it.
They would help me say it correctly.
They would help me learn.
This motivated me tremendously and I tried speaking Chinese to plenty of more people in China… with similar results. Yes, a lot of times they laughed – but that never bothered me.
Should it? I don’t see why. It’s not my native language and I’d only been looking at it for a few weeks… plus, it’s a language everybody considers to be fairly difficult. The fact that I said things that were funny to native speakers didn’t bother me a bit or make me feel stupid. It actually made me laugh as well, cuz I knew that shit must be funny, especially with my accent.
When I look at it, a lot of people have similar fears. Across platforms. In various fields/interests. If you get past it easily, you look at other people who struggle with it and think “dude, what is wrong with you? Just do it!”
But fears are real and everybody has them. You don’t get through them just through willpower alone. You have to find ways around them, tricks to help you out.. and most importantly you have to prioritize them.
I’ve been studying a lot on focus and energy lately. If there’s something stopping you because of a fear, I honestly think you have to determine how bad you want to overcome it. If you do decide you want to overcome this fear – prioritize it.
Make it your main focus. Your main priority.
Put everything else aside.
I mean it.
Too many focuses will stretch you thin and you’ll never do it. If it is your main focus, act like it. Make it your only focus for a set period of time and tackle it.
Or don’t, but then don’t be surprised that you never beat it.
2 thoughts on “Prioritize Your Fears”
It’s a nice article indeed. While reading it i could relate with you on all the points. May it be sales (since i’m also a sales professional) or learning foreign language (I’m learning Japanese). Like everyone, i too have my share of fears but what makes me overcome those is understanding that even my failure are going to teach me something.
You have put across this article very well. Wishing you best for all your endeavors.
Thanks Suvarna! And good luck with Japanese! It’s a fun language. (Although I find myself forgetting most of my Japanese now that I’m so focused on learning Mandarin – maybe I’ll have to come back to Japanese again some day)