I was just asked to leave the Admirals Lounge at Miami Airport. For ‘soliciting customers’
Ever since I started traveling, I’ve always wondered what is beyond the star studded gates of lounges and priority clubs. But, cough up $50 to enter? Never.
While reading through the rule book, I found a small loop hole—priority club members are allowed to invite a guest. So, I began asking random people as they entered to let me in.
Here is the incident report: I didn’t get in. But the failure is on my end. I didn’t do the proper planning, or enter in the right way. The lounge officials were very friendly.
What I should have done: look for younger travelers, waiting in line. Approach them with the question ‘Hey, where are you traveling from?’ Talk for 30 seconds, before bringing up the challenge.
Instead, I jumped in with confidence, asked the first old man in line (who was in the process of checking in, and was not happy being interrupted) and when I was told to stop, I ran away like a dog with his tail between his legs.
I should have waited outside until more people came, approaching before they entered—but I didn’t. And there is a strong feeling of conflicting emotions right now–I’m happy that I embraced the fear of asking random people and attempted to get in, but I’m embarrassed for giving up at the first setback.
I can make up rationalizations all day about it, but at the end of the day, I didn’t succeed in getting in the lounge. Next time. I’ll get in next time.
The Emotion Behind Failure
What stops people from trying something new?
In a recent email, I asked several thousand readers to tell me their biggest fears. I revealed mine–fears that I won’t make public on this blog, but strong fears nonetheless. (I reveal my deepest secrets only via my email newsletter)
The results were astounding. After reading several hundred responses, the most common two fears were quite…contrary.
#1 – the fear of failure
#2 – the fear of success
The reasoning behind these two fears were extremely interesting. The fear of failure stems from the fear that people will be rejected by their peers, friends, and more. Here are some emails I received where people described their fears of success.
- “I fear failure and perhaps subconsciously I even fear success”
- “#1 fear – having too much success…too much responsibility.
- “Fear #1: success. started a company, completed preliminary market testing, and i truly believe this product will sell. Just the magnitude of diving into unknown territory and the possibility of what this could be frightens me.”
But what lies between failure and success? Comfort—and mediocrity.
Comfort, Mediocrity, and why I aim to feel embarrassed
These two conflicting fears (often from the same people) in effect, represent a fear of change. People get comfortable with their life and begin to fear anything that pushes them out of their shell.
Living in comfort isn’t really living at all.
So when I approached the man at the admirals counter, and was rejected, and ran away like a puppy dog, I felt adrenaline. I wanted to start doing pushups in the airport terminal. The failure of the act, though, made me feel embarrassed, stupid. Emotions that I rarely feel.
There was a cognitive dissonance between pride and embarrassment.
I understand now that real growth comes from directing yourself TOWARDS the feelings of embarrassment, and accepting the emotion as a hitch on the road to personal growth.
So, when do you feel most uncomfortable?
Everyone feels comfortable at their own, home place. For me, when I’m on a computer, I feel the most comfortable—and as soon as I failed at entering the lounge, I jumped on to my computer to write the words you are reading now.
But, comfort is a feeling that holds us back. Comfort keeps us mediocre.
Think to yourself right now—where were you the last time you felt uncomfortable? Was it at the beach, was it during a social interaction, was it when you desired to talk to someone who you were attracted to—but couldn’t force yourself to?
Fear, discomfort, awkwardness—these are all feelings we should be striving FOR, not fleeing from.
From a personal perspective, I know that I felt awkward trying to sneak into a lounge. So I will continue to do it until I succeed.
We have to fight that odd compulsion that starts from your heart and runs through your legs, making you stand up and run to your refrigerator or computer and not return. Zefrank calls it ‘the Cheese Monster.’
Now, for your challenge
It’s easy to write a comment, it’s hard to actually do something. But readers of Hack the System aren’t average people—you’re people who really want to experience life in a different way.
So fuck it—let’s do it.
This post’s challenge is two parts.
Part 1: I want you to write below, in the comments. Tell me Two specific situations that make you feel uncomfortable–two situations that bring out the Cheese Monster in you.
Finish Part 1 right now. Go ahead. Write the situations below in the comments. I’ll wait for you to do that.
Now, Part 2 is a little bit harder. I want you to put yourself in that uncomfortable experience. If you’re afraid of talking to beautiful women, I want you to go and try to talk to 3 beautiful women. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. Embrace the discomfort. Accept it. You’re going out for a task, and you KNOW it will feel odd—but try it. And ask yourself ‘why do I feel like this?’
Then, come back and respond to your own comment with the results. How did putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation make you feel? Rationally, does it make sense? What would change in your life if you could get through this situation without that feeling?
I’ll be waiting for your response. Let’s fight those fears.