A few weeks ago, I got a skateboard. A pennyboard to be exact. I’ve never skateboarded in my life, and I’m about to turn 30 in a few month’s time.
I imagined what it would be like cruising along the paths and lanes around me. Nipping to the shops, skating there and back. Saving time and energy in the process.
I practiced getting on and off, rolling around a bit. All in the safety of the living room. Scared the bejesus out of the dog as I kept almost crashing head over heels repeatedly.
When it came time to practice outdoors. The fear gripped me. It was not a fear of failing, or hurting myself. I was more than prepared for that. It was the anxiousness of what other people would think of me, a grown man, playing on a child’s toy.
At least, that’s what my fear response told me.
I pushed through that thin barrier, and started learning to really cruise about, pushing, getting on and off, slowing down, aiming for everything to be a conscious and controlled manoeuvre. Luckily, it seems I’m a bit of a natural (like ice skating, I seem to have a thing for balance orientated sports). But, that same self-consciousness kept stepping in.
Every laugh, or half-heard conversation was, surely, about me. But, it wasn’t. I was just some guy on a skateboard, rolling around. They didn’t give me a second’s notice.
As I came to terms with the fact, most people didn’t care, I could take it when one kid on a bike said: “keep trying, buddy,” in a sarcastic tone. I’d already progressed to a level of confidence.
I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying the joy of beginners mind, the slow practice toward mastery, and rush you get of cruising at speed on a skateboard. It’s very relaxing. Like your own personal conveyer belt.
I realised, if I had given in to my self-consciousness, I would not be experiencing this great feeling. And then I realised, I didn’t care what people thought.
And that’s the real secret to achieving anything. Stop giving a shit what people think. Just do what brings you joy, as long as you don’t hurt any body.
You’ll find, the more you don’t care about people’s opinions, and the more you live the adventure, the more enjoyment you will get out of life.
Go and live.