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How to Live in Fear

Are you tired of being courageous and fed up with bravery? Seeking an alternative to risk-taking?

Not to worry. Choosing to live in fear is both easy and safe. Simply follow a few simple guidelines, and you'll live comfortably ever after.

Keep calm and carry on. Beware of danger, true love, and real life.

Play it safe. Never charge down a mountain. Don't run, don't leap, don't go too fast. Be wary of opportunities and new perspectives. Above all: stay the course.

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How to Change When Change Is Hard: Lessons from a Timid Mouse

496852946_4c9e3f6824_zI was coming back from a run up and down Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. I know the route well. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop from my house, depending on which path I take. More often than not, when I’m home for a while I run it at least once a week.

As I neared my neighborhood toward the end of the run, I noticed a cat in a driveway. Being a cat person, I often say hi to felines when I see them out and about on my run. Cats being cats, sometimes they follow me for blocks, intent on being my friend for life, and other times they can’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence.

This cat, I noticed, was different. He was sitting on his hind legs in the driveway, staring intently at something. Maybe it’s because he was so intent on the object of his fascination, or maybe I was just tired toward the end of the run—but for whatever reason I decided to slow down and walk over to the driveway.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I said to the cat. (Yeah, I talk to cats the same way I talk to people. If you’ve ever had a cat, you understand.)

The cat gave no response. He was fully immersed in something, and as I got closer, I could see what it was. There was a mouse! A tiny one, shivering in an isolated section of grass near the driveway—and just a paw’s swipe away from the cat.

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100 Days Without Fear: A Daily Video Experiment

Michelle Poler 2 A few months ago, Michelle Poler moved from Venezuela to New York to pursue a Master's Degree. While she was there, she started a project called 100 Days Without Fear to systematically combat the things that she was afraid of.

This fun project recently wrapped up with daily videos of her teaching a Zumba class, crowd surfing, posing nude for a drawing class, interviewing strangers, and attempting dozens of other interesting tasks.

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Some Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Life

Happy with your life? Everything's perfect? That's great. This post is not for you.

Everyone else, keep reading.

There are two popular theories of change-making:

#1. Make small and incremental (but regular) changes. Mix it up.

#2. Do it all at once. Quit smoking immediately. Take cold showers. Enter boot camp for the soul—whatever you need to do, don't wait.

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Fear, Doubt, UNCERTAINTY, Brilliance: Book Launch!

Earlier this year I went to Austin to co-facilitate a discussion at SXSW with Jonathan Fields. Our topic was “Fear and the Art of Creation,” and we had a great crowd. Despite the challenging time slot of early Sunday morning, tons of people showed up and filled the room. I said a few things in an attempt to sound mildly intelligent (my secret: always be the opening act and get off stage quickly), and then Jonathan said some much more intelligent things. The image from this post includes a few of the stories we shared with the audience over the course of an hour (hat tip to Ogilvy Notes for the fun illustration).

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What Would You Do if You Knew You Would Not Fail?

I like thinking about hypothetical questions, and this one is a good start. Most of us have some kind of dream trapped within us that has somehow become stifled by the fear of failure. So, yes, it's good to think about this question and bring your answer to the surface. The problem, though, is that most things that are worth doing involve a real possibility of failure. Marriages fail, other relationships falter, businesses close their doors all the time. A big goal, like the ones we looked at recently, always involves a certain degree of risk.

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Running in St. Louis

I stepped outside my hotel room and put my headphones in. Taking the elevator down to the lobby, I looked out at blue sky and sunshine—much nicer than the previous day of cold rain.

Then on the way outside, I did something that brought on instant embarrassment, pain, and déjà vu: I walked directly into a glass door that I didn't know existed. I thought the door was open, but sadly, it was not ...

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