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Fear is the New Laziness

November 26, 2010

But the new laziness has nothing to do with physical labor and everything to do with fear. If you’re not going to make those sales calls or invent that innovation or push that insight, you’re not avoiding it because you need physical rest. You’re hiding out because you’re afraid of expending emotional labor.” –Seth Godin

Ah yes, wise master Godin. I know of what you speak. Fear is the new laziness. The red light forcing you to stop.

The internal monologues of what-if scenarios and self-doubt. Fear is manifesting your worry that you aren’t enough. Good enough. Smart enough. Quick enough. Capable enough. Worthy enough.

Once you emotionally invest and expend your energy it’s hard to go back. Once you’ve fully committed, you can no longer use the excuse that you didn’t really want that anyway. Right?

As long as I’m doing something half-assed then I can delude myself. I can make excuses. I can cover just how dearly I had desired an outcome. Well, that wasn’t that important.

Except, of course, it was THAT important. My heart wanted it fully even if I didn’t go after it fully. And that’s a special kind of self-torment. Recognizing you didn’t really pursue what you want. You didn’t really give yourself a fighting chance.

So, my question is: How can we pivot around fear? Avoid the abrupt full-stop? How do we recognize the presence of fear but expend the emotional energy anyway?

How do you look fear in the face and say:

“Hello friend. I know you’re here. Welcome. I won’t let you paralyze me. I will stay liquid, fluid, flowing. I’ll keep moving towards innovation, insight, greatness.”

I don’t have the answers to this question. I haven’t mastered looking fear in the face. Then again, I’m still working on being enough.

It seems to me this journey needs to be taken one step at a time. One call at a time. One project at a time. As we build a history of looking fear in the face, it will start to feel normal. It will become part of how we work.

Dear reader, what’s your experience of working with fear? Has it made you lazy? Have you mastered it? Do tell.


Seth Godin is a best-selling author who writes one of the smartest and most useful blogs I’ve come across. I highly recommend subscribing to it.

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