Don’t Be Embarrassed

“The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it was a crazy idea.” -Peter Diamandis

This morning, our apartment bathroom sprung a leak. Pipe busted, Korean-speaking landlord came in miming what to do. I was late and frazzled as I hopped on my skateboard to make it to work on time.

Coffee in hand, I skated over a bump I thought I could ride over. But the bump was too big.

As I was launched through the air (in the middle of a crowded main sidewalk) I distinctly remember seeing all my coffee fly out of my cup in slow motion, aware there were many people around me watching. I landed right on my bad knee, and dirtied my new pair of nice shorts in a spectacle for the whole street to witness.

How embarrassing.

When I got to work, I tried to cover up what happened. I quickly dropped off my stuff so people wouldn’t see my cut-up arm or my coffee-stained hands.

I was embarrassed.

But the lesson here is:

Don’t be embarrassed.

Being (and submitting to) embarrassment is one of the leading causes of death among creatives, entrepreneurs, writers, and anyone with a goal of improving themselves.

How many people haven’t donned their ill-fitting gym clothes because they were embarrassed?

How many authors haven’t bothered to make a peep about their book idea because they were embarrassed?

How many would-be entrepreneurs haven’t even mentioned their idea to anyone because they were embarrassed?

The casualty rate is among the millions, with more added in droves every day.

When we are embarrassed, and submit to embarrassment’s agenda — shame, self-loathing, fear — we fail before we begin. Our dream dies before it’s even born.

Don’t be embarrassed.

Practice Looking Like an Idiot

In his iconic Ted Talk, Jia Jiang discussed how he created and practiced his very own “rejection therapy” system, intentionally placing himself in situations where he would look foolish to overcome his fear of rejection.

He might ask his favorite fast food chain for a free “burger refill” (it’s what it sounds like). Or ask a complete stranger to borrow $100. He knocked on someone’s door and asked if he could kick a soccer ball around in their backyard. In his most famous experiment, he asked a Krispy Kreme cashier if she could create a donut resembling the 5 Olympic rings.

What did he learn from practicing looking like an idiot?

Don’t be embarrassed.

Embarrassment is limiting, and its very nature is to make you hide in the dark, forever avoiding scenarios where you might look foolish. But it’s those exact scenarios where you’ll discover to greatest breakthroughs.

If you want to be successful, you have to shed off this immature attitude and fully lean into being and doing whatever you want without fear or what others might think.

Other entrepreneurs and influencers have recognized just how damaging embarrassment can be, and have actively made steps to break their fear of it.

In his landmark book The Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris tells how he began attending high-end parties and events wearing a ridiculous outfit (clown shoes, suspenders, gaudy hats, plastic jewelry, etc.) just to practice being embarrassed.

What Ferris was learning was that embarrassment (essentially, fear of rejection from others) is supremely limiting. Embarrassment will call the shots, if you let it. And those shots are always bring you down.

This fear must be destroyed if you want to truly resonate with others.

Embarrassment must be destroyed if you want to be truly successful.

In Conclusion

You can’t be an inspiration to some and not a joke to others.

Not everyone will like you — in fact, you may receive harsh, hurtful criticisms from those who don’t understand you or your work. You may feel tempted to be embarrassed; many critics might actually hope to make you feel that way.

In one of his many journals, Marcus Aurelius, leader of Rome, the greatest nation in the world’s history, had a strategy to overcome these types of issues.

I don’t agree to be intimidated, he wrote.

It’s that simple. Don’t agree to be embarrassed.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

You don’t have to agree to be embarrassed. You may be tempted to, and those around you may encourage you to feel that way. But you don’t have to.

When you fall down — figuratively or literally, like me — you can choose to not be embarrassed. You can make a conscious choice and say, “I am not going to be embarrassed.” Instead, you can choose to shrug it off.

Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed,” Aurelius told himself.

Don’t feel harmed…and you haven’t been.


6 Proven Steps How to Get Your Dream Job Faster Than Anyone Else

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This short checklist covers how I got my dream job in less than 11 months.

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  1. Anthony,

    Your story is super inspirational. We write about a lot of the same things! I found you over on Medium and decided to come over here and take a look at your blog. Seems like you’re living quite the life over in South Korea. You have a new fan 🙂

    • Anthony Moore says:

      Hi Tom! Thanks so much for the comment. (Sorry for the late response, I’ve been so busy on Medium I forget to check the comments on my actual blog!).

      Just checked out FindingTom. Super cool stuff! Really great to connect. Take care!

  2. Kevin Hoelscher says:

    Yeah, I try to not hide from those embarrassing moments, but embrace them. Kind of like keeping your shoulder closed when up to bat and an inside pitch comes your way…don’t open up too soon, stay in there even though you sense danger.

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