Fear: false evidence appearing real

Do you ever have a voice inside your head that tells you that you are not good enough to start your company; not good enough to sell to a new customer; not good enough to solve a difficult math problem? This is the voice of self-doubt, judging and fear – also called “the resistance” by Steven Pressfield.

It is easy to think this voice is your own – it speaks in your own head, after all. Once you recognize this voice does not encompass “you”, you can act when fear strikes.

The next time you hear a voice inside your head saying “You’re not good enough” or “This will never work”, imagine this voice comes from a friend inside your head. Say “Thank you for the advice, feel free to speak more, but you are not the one calling decisions.” The voice will not (maybe never) disappear. But, by realizing that the voice does not make decisions for you, you can start acting in the face of reality.

Writing down the advice was inspired by Justin Rosenstein, who speaks about this topic in his talk at Stanford Entrepreneurship Ventures. [Podcast here]


I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

– Frank Herbert

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