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Lean into the fear

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

A few hours ago, I was sitting in the 4th row in an auditorium with a few hundred people. It was day 3 of The Session 2020, the UK's biggest close-up magic convention, and one of my heroes in magic (the guest of honour at the convention, a chap called David Williamson) was giving a lecture.

In the world of magic, 'lectures' are usually where magicians perform some tricks, and then explain how they're done, and share some thoughts about the art of performance etc. But because David's been in the magic scene for decades, he decided to go impromptu for the whole 90 minutes and just make up stuff as he went along.

Halfway through, he decided to try something new - he asked if anyone in the audience would be willing to go up on stage in front of 300 people, and perform a magic trick they've been working on, and then David + the whole convention collectively could give them advice on what to improve.

After a brief moment of hesitation (read: fear), I put my hand up, his eyes fell on me and I ended up on stage for the next 15 minutes. I showed David an impromptu one-coin routine that I'd been playing with, borrowing a 50p coin from someone in the front row. I made the coin vanish and reappear a few times, and then had my mind blown as one of my all-time favourite magicians gave me personalised advice on how to improve the routine, and showed me and the audience some other cool impromptu tricks we could do with a borrowed coin.

A few years ago, even the thought of doing something like this would've terrified me. But I found that in the moment, I was totally relaxed. I realised that all those years of putting my hand up in class, answering questions wrongly in lectures and trying to incorporate the growth mindset into my life had slowly built my confidence to the point where it was no trouble at all to be up there on stage with one of my heroes, and showing a shoddy coin trick to a room of 300 magicians.

I guess the challenge for all of us is to continue to find areas of life where fear is holding us back, and to lean into the fear and use that as a stimulus for growth.

Have a great week!

Ali


This week on Not Overthinking

Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.

Words that changed our lives | Not Overthinking

In this episode, we each talk about 3 words/phrases that have changed the way we think about things and see the world. We touch on Taimur's new addiction to David Dobrik's vlogs, and Ali doesn't stop going on about a magic convention that he attended this weekend.

My Favourite Things this week

1 - Podcast - I absolutely loved this episode of The Knowledge Project featuring Neil Pasricha, on the topic of happiness, resilience, antidotes to anxiety and morning routines. I listened to this on the way to work a few days ago, and ended up dictating so many thoughts into my Apple Watch that'll hopefully find their way into this newsletter at some point.

2 - Podcast - I enjoyed listening to Tim Ferriss interviewing Tony Fadell, "the father of the iPod". Along with lots of interesting stories from the early days of Apple, there were a few interesting takeaways for living a more balanced work + personal life.

3 - Quote - Rudyard Kipling apparently said "Four–fifths of everybody’s work must be bad. But the remnant is worth the trouble for its own sake."

Kindle Highlight of the Week

These hours are all you’ve got. There is nothing in your life that is more valuable than your time, the moments you have left. You cannot put too much awareness and intention into the way you invest those moments.

From Your Money or Your Life. Resurfaced with Readwise.

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Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.