“I’m afraid of being judged,” she said, after I asked her why she hadn’t shared her Substack on Twitter yet. She had already written 2 articles. 2 articles, but no public announcement. I immediately guffawed in close proximity to her face. “No you’re right, I realize how dumb it is when I say it out loud,” she said. Boom. Pattern broke. I laughed in her face, she realized how belittling her excuse was, and she finally shared her Substack on Twitter. No self-esteem pep talk, no vulnerability orgy.

One of the best ways to see how you’re holding yourself back is to tell somebody your most protective excuses. In this way, a “safe space” is created in which your friend will laugh at you, you’ll realize how dumb the excuse is, and then you’ll do whatever it is you’re afraid of doing.

Being creative while fearing judgment is like being a squeamish surgeon. You’re lying to yourself if you think you’ll have a career as a creative while being afraid of what people might say about your work.

Fear + coddling = regression

Fear + tough love = progression

One thought on “ Want to help somebody? Laugh in their face. ”

  1. Oh yeah, people definitely could use some tough love. Sometimes soft encouragement doesn’t really work. I should try laughing at others more, not to hurt them, but to spur them on to doing whatever they need to.


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