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Carolina Guisande Muvdi

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What it means to be fearless

Every Monday I read quotes on social media telling people to just go for it and be fearless: “It’s Monday, let’s do it!”, “Seize the day!”, “Goal digger!, “Slay!”. But what does that mean? Does it mean to take the bull by the horns and heed no consequence or is it a rational decision people make when they decide they’ve had it with something and are willing to take the risk, the next step, after much over thinking. As I have found out it’s a combination of both.

(I would like to pause and give you guys a quick summary of my life right now: I recently quit my job, and apart from pursuing my Digital and Experiential Marketing Company, whose name I decided to change recently as well, I would like to finally come out of the closet with my writing and my shopping guide.)

So going back to a few things that I think take some guts: leave that job even if you have nothing to fall back upon (ok, check on this one, done and done), follow your dream to become a writer, which means you will have to overcome the fear of being out there scrutinized and criticized (ok, so I’m talking about me); or move out of the city and into a self sufficient cottage surrounded by nature (sounds great, but I have a long way to go on this one).

Anyway, I read a controversial* book recently called “Imagine” written by Jonah Lehrer and I learned something very interesting about fear, or the lack thereof. There is a part in our brains that as we mature inhibits our fearlessness, therefore inhibiting our creativity. Creativity is our ability to think things and do things no one else has done before (yes, we can all be creative, it is not reserved for artists and those that practice advertising).

In order to create we must be fearless, making something no one else has ever done before HAPPEN (I mean the lightbulb for God’s sake) is scary stuff. This means that we must learn to turn off that part that is thinking “What will my peers think?”, “Will they laugh at me?”, “Will I be bullied at the tender age of 40?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if I fail over and over again?” (I’m probably an expert in this matter), “What if I never, ever make it?”

“What will my peers think?”, “Will they laugh at me?”, “Will I be bullied at the tender age of 40?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if I fail over and over again?” (I’m probably an expert in this matter), “What if I never, ever make it?”

But, here lies my problem: I used to think that a type of personality defined fearlessness. I think this idea formed itself when I was a kid because my mom would say: “This one or that one will get far, they have a lot of personality…” Now that I think of it (and people in general say that a lot) “What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? Everyone has a lot of personality, having a lot of a type of personality is what in fact defines a personality.” Anyway, that type of comments made me think that maybe mine wasn’t good enough to get far (I know mom, you probably had no idea of the effect of your words, a lot of people say that about a lot of people).

But the truth is, it’s not about personality (although maybe these people had a natural predisposition to not care), this fearlessness can be practiced and attained by anyone. Just a little bit every day, all you have to do is (easy breezy) let your prefrontal cortex focus, try to turn off your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, also known as DLPFC at will (takes practice, it is the part of your brain that keeps you from “making embarrassing confessions, or grabbing at food, or stealing from a store”) and let your right hemisphere make connections. In other words you have to practice letting yourself go, but keeping a bit of conscienceness so that you can pick up on that great idea, that next step, that next action that may change your life, and the world. This is hard work because only “after expertise has been achieved, that improvisation can take place”. Which means you have to bust your ass off first. It’s a “Monday go getter” quote turned into tangible reality.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after we grow up. -Picasso

A tip would be pretending you’re a little kid, without a care in the world, how would you solve a problem then? Another is to just NOT care what other people think, just shut them out (easy breezy too, right?) Another resort, although not as handy, is contacting Allan Snyder, a neuroscientist at the University of Sydney who uses a tool called TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation “which can temporarily silence a specific circuit of the brain with a blast of magnetic energy”.

So why am I telling you all this? Because for some reason knowing that I have the same set of tools as anyone else, that it’s not a matter of bad luck with my timid personality, has set me free, in the words of Nike, to just do it. I won’t probably just do it losing my unique personality, but in fact enjoying what I have and connecting with those that might say: “Hey, I guess this crazy chick has some cool things to say”.

*The reason this book is controversial is because it was recalled because of inconsistencies in some quoted material by Bob Dylanin the first section of the book. The parts I quote here and the reason the book inspired me make sense to me, and not the reason the book had problems. Also, I loved the book, so whatever works.

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