A Vital 1/10th of a Second: The Screw It Moment

by Ben Holt on June 1, 2012

I’m still working to polish up the series I’m writing on laziness, but I wanted to get this idea out to you. Read on…

No, I didn’t get her number. Big fail? Maybe not.

Being comfortable with discomfort is one of the key attributes of successful people. To get comfortable taking difficult actions, all we need to do is get in the habit of, well, taking difficult actions. Start small, and start when you have nothing to lose. Then, when it actually matters, you’re ready to take on just about anything.

I’m taking on a specific challenge to ask for the phone number of attractive women I run into. Now, I’m married, so I won’t keep the number, but the number itself is not the point. The point is to get over the fear of asking – to realize that the pain of failure is slight and passes quickly.

Watch this video to hear about a recent experience and a key insight I gained from it. It’s not even 2 minutes long, so take a look:

One thing I thought of after recording that is that after we say “screw it, I’m doing it,” the resistance dissolves and action becomes nearly inevitable. We might still feel anxious or nervous, but we’ve cut loose and there is no going back.

What a thrill!

Now, thinking broadly: when do we come upon these moments?

  • asking for a well-deserved raise
  • calling attention to a problem of some sort
  • negotiating a major purchase, like a house or a car
  • refusing to compromise your values for a short-term gain
  • giving a random compliment to a stranger
  • delighting a customer, a friend, or a co-worker
  • saying “no, I won’t cross that line.”
  • saying “yes, I’ll do that for you.”

Truth be told, these moments come up almost daily. This is why I say they define us.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

If we repeatedly rise to the moment, if we jump in with both feet, if we say “Yes, I will,” we become doers. We become makers, creators, and leaders.

If we repeatedly shrink away at these crucial moments, we become cowards. I know that’s harsh, but that’s how it is.

You know who you are better than anyone else. You know who you want to be and where you want to end up. Now you have the key to getting there. Decide now how you will respond in the next Screw It moment you encounter.

Say yes. Get moving. Take action. Commit. Jump!

(hmm, possible name for a blog…)

Thanks for joining me as I explored this idea. Below this post, leave a comment with your thoughts. Any experiences with breaking through in tough situations? How did it turn out? How did it make you feel?

  • http://jakyastikblogs.blogspot.in/ Jaky Astik

    Damn, this is nice. and true!

    • / Ben Holt

      Thanks Jaky! It was definitely an interesting realization to have! It’s moments like this one that push me to keep trying new things :-)

  • http://breakthefear.com/ Matt Horwitz

    Great video Ben!  You really come across well on camera.  Hope to see some more videos with future posts !

    • / Ben Holt

      Thanks Matt! I’m still experimenting, but I aim to get a video out with every other post or so.

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