If you ever get scared by people — this letter is for you.
To start, the world is a bit of a fucking scary place. Or so the media wants you to think.
In America, we are afraid of black people, middle-eastern people, or anyone who looks like an ‘other’ in our eyes.
1. No more mainstream media
Stop watching the news, it is all fear-terrorism.
The more news I watch, the more pessimistic I get towards society and other people. I hear all these crazy stories of terrorist bombings. The mainstream media wants to drive page views, clicks, for more advertising money. Of course they will only show you the scary shit happening in the world.
2. Smile more.
I have a practice: I give smiles to strangers. 99% of the time, they smile back.
It is human nature to smile at one another. It is the glue of human society. If humans never learned how to cooperate or help one another, we would have all gone extinct a long time ago.
Assignment: For an entire day, smile at every stranger you see.
3. Ask for permission
In street photography, one of the best ways to build confidence is to ask for permission.
Whenever I see someone who I am unsure or scared of, I will ask for permission to photograph them.
Specifically, I will ask to make a ‘portrait’ of them — which sounds more professional and legit than: “Can I take a ‘picture’ of you?”
It is better to ask for permission, than not to ask anyone at all.
4. Ask for unreasonable requests
I will often ask random shit too. For example, I will be at a coffee house and I will ask for permission for another (free) cup of coffee because I am having a bad day. Believe it or not, more often than not — people say yes.
This has helped me regain faith in humanity, and that by nature, we are all good people — with good will to one another.
5. Acknowledge that you’re fucking weird.
The fear a lot of us have (imposter syndrome) is:
What if everyone knows I’m secretly a fraud, or weird?
Acknowledge to yourself, ‘I am weird– and proud of it!’
Then, you will not fear people for ‘discovering’ your ‘weirdness.’
The world is a lot nicer than you think. People are fundamentally good, and nobody is out there to ‘get you.’
Smile more, watch less mainstream news, and take more small risks.