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Learning To Use Intimidation

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A truck approached.

It slowed down rapidly, as though it was a last minute decision from the pedal-heavy driver.

I was riding on the hard shoulder, without music because I’d overplayed most songs recently and was bored of Every. Single. Album. For a while, silence, creaky gears and bird noises had most definitely replaced Mos Def.

A few feet away, the passenger window on the smokey and rickety truck began to open. It was probably someone wanting to chat or just shout “where you headed?” That happened sometimes.

An apple whizzed past my head at full pelt. I heard the rush of air whistle past and rattle my ear drum. 

“Haha, you fucker! Get a car, asshole!” a voice shouted from inside the truck, half a second before speeding off.

It’s quite a vivid memory.

The wild intimidation of landing in the snow on Day 1 is another vivid memory. 

On the airy approach, occasionally the clouds would part and I’d see huge amounts of nothingness over North East Canada. Just empty, baron land. That caused doubt, which for a short moment seemed quite crippling. My mind was in overdrive with whirling thoughts. A stirring pot full of equal parts excitement, fear, and apprehension. And when we got close to landing, I saw the deep white powder for the first time. It was a moment of realisation that I was completely underprepared and didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

But then a couple of days were ticked off, and nothing went too badly wrong. And then a week, and a month. And eventually, what to do and how to handle things became clear, and all those worries that had been so strong faded into irrelevance.

Immersion teaches us what we need to know. In this case it was things like where to sleep, how to manage everything, how to avoid apple throwers, how to swear at apple throwers effectively, how to visualize apple throwers getting hit with a dripping wet fish etc. 

To become competent all it takes is diving right in and grasping on to a little bit of confidence, even if there’s not much of it rattling around inside our intimidated minds.

Becoming a brain scientist, riding a bicycle a long way, learning poker or Krav Maga, it’s all the same. When we’re truly immersed, then given time, everything that we need to know becomes intuitive. That is the coolest part about the learning curve.

With most things that seem wildly daunting at first, surface fear is likely all it is.

It’s worth thinking about the things we’re putting off, and asking ourselves the hard question. Why?

If we’re holding ourselves back because of intimidation, then that might be a sign that something’s worth doing.

What seems like fear now probably won’t last long.

Dive in.

dive-in



Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life.
Available now: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com



Follow Dave on Instagram for adventure photography and behind-the-scenes updates about his new courage project.
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