Do What You Have to Do

Do What You Have to Do

In the images you can only see me, talking into a microphone. I was speaking to a room full of teenagers in their last high school year, who are looking for a college and to make their way through life. Boys and girls, the shy types, the bold types, the joyful and the private types. But no matter what type they seemed to be, they all asked me, in one way or another, the same question: How can I raise my self-esteem? If you do a simple Google search, you’ll find mounts and mounts of articles with clear step by step approaches about how to have more self esteem, whether it was lost or you’ve never had it to begin with (which is highly unlikely), so I will not add one more article to the pile. But what I can tell you is the following: Your self-confidence will never be at 100%.

After you get over an obstacle and you feel a bit better with yourself, there is one more waiting around the corner, a bigger tougher one. And if it’s not there, you better make it show up, because as long as you are not yet enlightened, you need these obstacles to make life worth living. You’ll always be afraid, you’ll always have low self-esteem in one situation or another. It’s my case as well, obviously. What do I do to get over it? Nothing. I do what I have to do no matter how I feel at that point. You’re afraid? So what?! Do what you have to do anyway! You don’t trust you can do it? So what?! DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO! After you’ve done it, you might find out that you actually liked it, despite the fear.

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The image with me and the mike are quite appropriate for the situation. Seinfeld said that the no. 1 fear in America is the fear of public speaking. Death is on second place! Which means that people would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy! Before I spoke in public for the first time I was so scared that I was hoping something would happen to me before the event. Then, as I was speaking, I realized I loved it! The feeling of absolute exposure and vulnerability that you have when a large group of people are looking at you turns for me into a form of ecstasy that I now desire! But I would have never known that unless I dared to reveal myself. I would have always lived in the shadow, feeling that I wasn’t good, fluent, prepared or sufficient enough. And it would have just been the shadow of my own ego trying to protect me. But what does the ego protect us from? Usually, the ego is trying to keep us alive, keeping us safe from any situation that might result in our physical demise. With public speaking, the explanation is quite simple: you speak in public, so you reveal yourself to the group, therefore the group could reject and exclude you. If you are excluded nowadays it’s not such a big problem anymore, because you can always find a new group where you would fit. But the ego doesn’t know this, because if you were excluded from your tribe at the beginning of the history of humanity, you would be alone, unprotected and you’d soon become prey to the wild animals roaming around. Now there aren’t so many situations where you can die. So without realizing it, and doing its job since the beginning of time, the ego protects us from happiness! Take its hand and let it know nicely and calmly that you’re not going to die. And then DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!

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