Here’s a quote I’ve always liked: “A samurai that goes into battle hoping to live will surely die. A samurai that goes into battle expecting to die will surely live.”
I don’t know who said it, and I’m honestly too lazy to Google it. But the point is that you can’t win a battle if you spend too long thinking about how to win it. Eventually, you’re gonna have to fight. Ultimately, either you’ll win or you won’t. There are billions of imperceivable factors and variables at work. Try to mitigate them all and you’ll be too lost in thought to see the enemy bearing down on you.
Don’t let fear hold you back from doing something you really want to do. Luckily, most things in life aren’t a battle, and you won’t die by trying them. Take the class. Talk to the girl. Go on the vacation.
Success and failure are not rigid, objective concepts. You can accomplish success simply by trying and learning, even if (and especially if) the outcome is not what you expected. You can accomplish nothing if you do not try. I think you’ll be surprised to find that most things are easier than typically imagined. Olympic-level runners all began by tying their shoes.
Today, find the beginning. Whatever it is you wish to do, find the smallest and easiest possible starting point. Then, begin.
You find yourself at the beginning of a long path that winds through the forest. You don’t know where it goes, but you know you must follow it. Swordsmen stand in your way, pressing forward, their eyes hungry and their blades sharp. But they are only men, and men can be cut down. So, you place a hand on your own sword.