Zat Rana,

Thanks for the piece.

Fear and movement are two things I’ve experienced in pro sports and want to offer any experiential insight, or feedback.

Days when I danced without fear, I played pro basketball well. But I conditioned myself to “dance” with a ball in my hands. In front of crowds. Alone in a gym unseen to any spectators. There is less pressure when you are alone. Less fear. Because the abstraction is what people will think of you. The problem is your illusion that people will remember that moment — you dancing, or playing, or writing, or singing, or talking, or speaking, or working.

The truth is, five years from now, you won’t remember it nonetheless the people that watched you. Yet, day after day, I would still feel the fear of playing a game I loved. I can’t remember games and failures and fear from when I was 15. Yet, when I play now, I still get the nervous tingles. The pressure. The nerves taut like piano wire. The tension. The anxiety. Fear is and was always hard to deal with, but the love of the game and the competition always pushed me over the precipice of fear.

I’ll tell you how people can overcome fear.

Write down what scares you. Write three small things.

Then go move through them. Slowly at first. Maybe invite someone to watch your standup. Or read your piece. Or watch you shoot. Or listen to you talk or sing or play at open mic. Your biggest fears are typically your biggest hurdles to growth, happiness, and purpose.

I’ll tell you what why.

Playing basketball, to me, was like breathing, and when you have to play, no matter what the circumstances, the amount of people watching, the amount of pressure, the amount of chances or risk you take in being a fool, you do it because you want to breathe.

You have to breathe. Fear cannot co-exist with breathing and movement. You cannot multi-task and do the deed.

Fear is something we all feel. Maybe every day. Maybe when we shouldn’t. Maybe when we should. But when something matters just as much as breathing, we will do it and let go of the fear.

The more we do it, the more we practice facing our fears, the more we get in the flow state, the wonderful place born of crystalized time, happy feelings, thoughtless repetition, and devout habits, the easier it is to understand fear itself..

Written by

“Do it or don’t do it.”

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