Edward Norton is an Oscar-nominated actor, director, screenwriter and founder of the non-profit crowdsourcing venture Crowdrise. Experience has taught him that self-confidence is not the key to success. On the contrary, every bold new venture naturally summons up the feeling that “You’re a fraud. This is not going to work." By the end of this lesson from Big Think+, you’ll have a sense of the negative self-talk that might be holding you back and a mental strategy for pushing past your anxieties and fears.
In this lesson from Big Think+, Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton offers a mental strategy for pushing past anxiety and fear when taking on a new venture.
At the beginning, when you start that process, I think it’s 100% certain that it will feel completely half-baked. You will always be looking over your shoulder waiting for somebody to call you out and say, "you’re a fraud, you’re an idiot." Like, this is not going to work. Getting used to that sensation is a good thing. I’ve been acting professionally for 20 years and I still start things and basically wait for somebody to go, "Wow! You really don’t know what you’re doing. You really suck."
You have to anticipate and embrace the inevitable sensation of fear, like, you will feel fear for sure. And you will feel risk. None of those like daydreams where you imagine yourself in a movie of your own success, like, just happen without that zone and period of risk and terror. Like, terror. Existential sort of horror and certainty that you are going to fail. I don’t think it ever goes away. The only thing I think happens is that you get used to the sensation. You can get to that point where you say, "oh yeah, this is that phase where, you know, I’m sweating out three t-shirts a day because I think we’re about to go off the cliff like every six hours." And that’s okay. You’re like, you know, I’ll buy more cheap t-shirts and just, you know, wait it out.
And sometimes you’re not wrong, sometimes you do crash and fail. But that’s okay too. I think a lot of people just balk at that sensation and I think you’ve got to push through it.