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A Brief Analysis Of Why I Complied With A Pointless Rule

I learned an interesting lesson about rules today.

I had an 8AM Tokyo-time Skype call back to the United States. Tokyo is notorious for its surprisingly poor WiFi, so I went to an internet cafe.

The internet cafes in Japan are interesting -- you get your own private cubicle that has a computer with a very large monitor and noise-canceling headphones, comfortable chairs, pillows, and sometimes blankets. In the rest of the cafe, there's also comic books, DVDs, and a selection of free teas, coffees, juices, and sodas. Sometimes they have other amenities for free or for sale -- often they'll sell dress shirts, do laundry, have showers, selling grooming kits, and sell other kinds of hot food and snacks.

Active Fear, Passive Fear

When you're actively afraid, you know it. You can feel the fear pressing against you. Maybe you work through it and conquer it this time, or maybe you don't. But if you succeed, you know you worked through the fear. And you know if you fail, the fear beat you.

This is the type of fear you feel when you're about to do public speaking, make a cold call, ask for a raise at work, or do a difficult ski run.

And maybe sometimes you back down from whatever it is you were afraid of. It happens, and it's not the end of the world when it does. Fear winds up beating most people at least sometimes, in some domain.

Passive fear, on the other hand, is far more insidious. It's what Pressfield called "The Resistance" in The War of Art. It's a form of fear, but not one that shows itself. It's sneaky. You find the need to do some lower importance activity instead of doing your work.

Excuses abound, the important things don't get done.

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