"DO THE THING YOU FEAR," said
David Schwartz, "and the fear will disappear." One
reason is because once you've done it, there is nothing to fear.
It's over. Another reason, of course, is that doing something
scary and surviving usually makes you less scared to do it again.
This leads us to an important general principle:
If you have something you know you need to do and you know you
will have extra stress hormones while doing it, get it over
with as quickly as possible. Don't put it off try
to beat your adrenal glands to the punch. Get to the relief-that-it's-over
part as soon as you can.
Unless you can take some time to really
think about it ahead of time and if you're pretty good at adopting
nonanxious perspectives, then don't spend time "working
up the courage." Get to it as soon as you can.
If you wait, if you put it off, you produce
a certain amount of adrenaline while you wait because you keep
thinking about the task you need to do and getting a jolt of
stress hormones every time you think about it. If you jump right
in and do it, of course your adrenaline might skyrocket, but
it will be for a short time. Overall, you had to suffer much
less fear. Your body doesn't get the chance to make as much adrenaline.
You just saved yourself a lot of unnecessary suffering (and wear-and-tear
on your body).
This basic philosophy was obvious as a
kid growing up near the beach in California. My cousins and my
brother and I spent a lot of time in the ocean. The water isn't
that cold, but when you're skinny, wearing only swim trunks,
and you're dry and warm, that water feels pretty darn cold.
We knew once we were in the water swimming
around it wouldn't be so bad, but getting in was a shock to the
body. We eventually learned the best way to do it was to run
and jump in. If you slowly waded out, trying to get used to it,
you suffered ten times more. You had to suffer a shock for every
inch you got deeper into the water. When you jump in, you suffer
only ten units of pain, but going in slowly, you suffer two units
of pain per inch, so overall it's more like a hundred units of
pain total: Much more suffering.
A friend of mine in South Carolina sent
me this advice from down South:
Rule #1: If you gotta eat a frog, it's
best to get it over with and do it first thing in the morning.
Rule #2: If you gotta eat two frogs, eat
the biggest one first.
If you have a phone call you know you need
to make and it produces anxiety, quickly pick up the phone and
dial. Try to get to it before your adrenal glands even know what's
going on. If it is something that you know you're going to do,
jump right in.
Get to the anxiety-producing
as quickly as possible.