Defending My Life – Day Five of Facing My Fears


“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Eriksson

Here I am, just beyond the midpoint of my personal social experiment, and I’ve hit my first real obstacle. The nothingness. Not the nothingness that comes with nihilism but the nothingness that comes with literally no fear based obstacles in my path today. Sadly, this does mean a penalty dinner for me tonight as a reminder that a life led without taking risk is a bland life indeed.

I shall take this day of respite as a good time to take stock in the lessons I’ve learned so far. Admittedly, four days of messing about in the experimental pool doesn’t really qualify me to draw any hard and fast conclusions, but I can hopefully begin to sketch a few things out. I also know that I need to test my meddle in the real crucible – out and about among people. Can I approach the pretty woman and actually engage in a conversation or will the shadowy tendrils of fear that lurk in my brain prevent me?

I received a very nice note from a friend from high school pointing out that in this process perhaps I am applying the word fear in places where it doesn’t necessarily apply. It is okay not to like to talk on the phone. It is okay to have introverted preferences. I am not fooling myself into thinking that doing any of this will turn me from being introverted into an extrovert. I will still be drained by being around people, but hopefully I can start to find a benefit from being around people.

I know that I can introduce myself to people with no ill effect. I know that I can ask people for assistance relating to things I want and they will help. I’m still leery on the whole phone thing. That may go down as one of my ‘preferences’ that won’t get changed much.

Part of what I thought I would get from this experience is some real insight and strategies.  Sadly, I think there is only one true strategy for dealing with things that cause me anxiety and fear.  Run at them at full speed while screaming my bloody head off Braveheart style.  Hell, if I’m going to suffer angst dealing with people and events, then people around me might as well be startled and freaked out.

No?  Bad idea?  Okay, I’m not speaking literally here.  Once I’ve realized that I want to do something, have sufficiently analyzed consequences, then I need to just do it before my imagination kicks in and I start coming up with extreme crazy wild scenarios that only occur in weird British farces.

I see a few obstacles ahead of me.  Saturday I will be attending a friend’s daughter’s graduation party.  This is a party at someone’s house I’ve never been to and I won’t know many people there.  This is usually the formula that makes me run away.  I’ve got a ton of reasons not to go to events like this.  But… I really like these friends and I really want to help celebrate this auspicious event.

On Saturday night I’m going to go back out to Neo, a place I feel comfortable just sitting back, drinking and dancing, and actually force myself to approach people.  I’m not going to set a quota or do something like that as that adds a weird competitive pressure to it, and I despise that sort of pressure.  I’m anti-competitive.  Sort of.  Unless I know I’m good at something then I am kind of competitive.  I’ll deal with my hypocrisy some other time.

Published by Sean D. Francis

Sean D. Francis is a technologist, writer, and geek. He podcasts, makes video, and dabbles in all the geeky genres including horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.