Here’s why you need to emancipate yourself from fear immediately — if not sooner.

Acclaimed journalist and venerated wild man, Hunter S. Thompson once said: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'”

This has been a quote I must’ve written down in notepads, on the cover of textbooks and on the walls of my room over a hundred times in the past two years. If fear is the absence of irrationality, then courage must be a paralytic overdose of "fuck yes." Having the balls to overcome a task, an interaction or an event that causes you to instantly break into a cold sweat the second you think about it is nothing short of a miracle. The naysayers that accuse me of being melodramatic can kindly piss off; doing something that scares the shit out of you is one hell of an achievement.

I’d be willing to bet the combined price of a burrito at every single Chipotle in Colorado that by the time college is wrapped up you had an experience that induced pure terror on more than one occasion. Whether it presents itself in the form of a conversation with the police or when the smokeshow coed you sit next to asked if you wanted to study together after class — and in response, you belched and sharted at the same time.

Okay, so maybe now we’re moving more towards the realm of mortification, but the symptoms remain the same. Absolutely no one on earth with a proper chemical balance is void of fear. It is a feeling that permeates your psyche to such a degree that it can physically incapacitate you. Which is why overcoming such a feeling is something that deserves to be celebrated for more reasons than one. All you have to do is be willing to face the discomfort and doubt that comes with rising to the occasion of a scary situation.

Mental cues that help in overcoming fear on a moment’s notice:

Scenario: An attempt at stand-up comedy during an open mic night at a crowded bar

How to cope: Make sure you’re not deep throating the mic and shaking like a leaf by visualizing a time when you laughed so hard that you thought you cracked a rib. By identifying with the reaction a well delivered joke triggers it will be easier to remember why you’re on stage in the first place.

What you need to keep in mind: The audience didn’t come to this place to roast aspiring comics. They’re here to drink and socialize. The booze is going to help you in the long run because drunk people find everything funny.

Worst case scenario: Your best material is not well received and your presence is treated like background noise. You’re still less tedious to listen to than "Hotline Bling."

Best case scenario: You get some genuine laughs from the audience and are met with praise from several people in the crowd after your set. Which makes you feel like a god.

Scenario: How to hit on a coed without looking like a prepubescent member of the Breakfast Club

How to cope: If you don’t hit on her someone else will. Quit acting like a little bitch.

What you need to keep in mind: The apple of your eyepiece is a person. He or she experiences the same ebb and flow of emotions as you do. If you did a role-reversal with them chances are they would be experiencing the exact same nervous energy that’s making it difficult for you to smile, bullshit for a minute or two and ask if she’s into tapas and reggae.

Worst case scenario: She’s not into you. Or she has a significant other. Or the very idea of tapas and reggae makes her dryer than the mojave. Either way, you asking her out was probably the least amount of bullshit she’s had to deal with this week from the opposite sex. Don’t sweat it. She probably thought it was a sweet and respectful gesture.

Best case scenario: She says yes. You guys go out, hit it off, eat two dozen Croquetas, down a bottle of wine each and have awesome, animalistic sex. The end.


Scenario: Getting into a physical altercation

How to Cope: This is probably the most challenging situations to face head-on. And remains entirely rooted in your "Fight or Flight" response. Chuck Palahniuk once said: “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” Cliche and overquoted? Sure. But it’s the truth. Your brain and your nervous system do a remarkable job of rewiring themselves when you are forced to defend yourself. Allow yourself to be curious as to whether or not your brain tells you to run, or stand your ground.

What you need to keep in mind: Let’s assume you weren’t the one who instigated this incident. The person that wants to fight you is either fucked-in-half drunk or is simply a stain that has nothing better to do with his time then to start fights. A real classy prick.

Worst case scenario: You get starched in front of a large group of people. If you weren’t the person who started the fight and it’s clear that your adversary is nothing more than a bloated sack of ass of a bully then I’d be willing to bet someone in the vicinity who could annihilate this lump of shit will be more than happy to intervene.

Best case scenario: You sock the guy in the mouth and he collapses into himself like a folding chair. Or better yet, you agree to fight him and all of a sudden he forgot that he needs to go to the grocery store at 11:30 at night and shady dips out of the confrontation. Either way, you rose to the challenge of a frightening situation and excelled. Bravo.