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What Are You So Scared of?

So today is Day 2 (or is it really Day 1?) of my RSS Blackout. So far, so good. Although I’ve gone a few days without checking the reader before (as on vacation), so not a big deal. I figure things should get interesting after a week or two.

At any rate, not dipping into my RSS reader hasn’t meant I have been completely out of touch. In fact, I have been tracking the comments on the RSS Blackout post via co.mments. I’m glad I did.

Jay Thompson, also known as the Phoenix Real Estate Guy, and someone who I consider a friend (not just a colleague), left a comment that really struck at the core of this whole RSS Blackout adventure of mine. From his comment (emphasis is mine):

But I don’t want to miss anything! I’ve learned so much reading other blogs I’m afraid I might.


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That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Fear is a very simple and basic emotion; yet it is perhaps one of the most powerful. Fear can make you do some things, and stop you from doing others. Fear can be good, and fear can be very, very bad.

The thing about fear is that we all possess it. At one point or another, we are all afraid of something. Those who deny that are probably doing so out of a fear of being perceived as weak (funny how fear works like that sometimes).

The interesting thing is that the vast majority of the fear that we feel is a learned reaction. It is not, as you might think, entirely instinctual. We are explicitly taught to fear certain things, and we learn to fear other things. The issue is that some of this teaching and learning is false, or at least based on false understandings.

I am certainly not immune to fear. In fact, I encounter it fairly regularly on the basketball court as a referee, in one form or another. Any referee who tells you that he or she wasn’t nervous or a bit fearful that first time out on the court is a liar. In fact, the officiating community even has a little maxim that we learn very early: “if you are afraid of what is going to happen when you blow your whistle, then you might as well just put it in your pocket.” Eventually, the fear of failure, the fear of being yelled at or berated, the fear of making a mistake, gets smaller and smaller and you progress and work more games and gain more experience. At some point, all those things you feared in the beginning are no longer scary, and you begin to officiate from a place of security and confidence.

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That is what I hope will happen to me during the RSS Blackout. I completely agree with Jay’s comment. I, too, have been afraid that I would miss something important, or that someone else would benefit from knowledge I could have had first.

It’s garbage.

That’s just the ugly side of the voice inside my head trying to mess things up (I can’t always control him). Turning off my RSS reader isn’t going to put me out of business. The sun will still come up tomorrow (and if it doesn’t, then we all have bigger problems). In fact, I’m hoping that turning off the RSS reader will actually help me see things that I might have overlooked before.

That’s my story. But what about you? What are you going to do when that ugly little voice inside your head starts planting fearful little seeds?

Perhaps you should do what I did. Ask yourself this:

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What are you so scared of?

Written By

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.



  1. Benjamin Bach

    February 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Everyone…

    Daniel left one thing out – don’t stop checking your feeds!!!

  2. Andy Kaufman

    February 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    That reminds me, AG needs a comments feed.

    Benn, make it so.



  3. Jonathan Dalton

    February 14, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I’m not afraid of anything but I’m not inclined to shut off my RSS reader. I ignore it selectively depending on how busy I am at any given time.

    Writing is a personal venture. There are certain blogs I won’t read before I write a post, not because I’m afraid of the influence but because reading Kris Berg then trying to be witty is demoralizing. Same goes for Teresa. Read them and there’s no reason to even try that day. Or week.

    I’m not trying to write an entire album or a novel. When I was writing my novel, I cut down on what I was reading fiction-wise because I didn’t want to be overly influenced. So I can see the value of the decision.

    I just don’t see what I find in the RSS as a threat to my own voice. Been writing professionally for too long.

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