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Earlier this month on Medium, Elle Luna posted an awesome, insightful (and beautifully illustrated) piece entitled, The Crossroads of Should and Must.

We’ve learned what Elle means when she distinguishes between Should and Must and two of the biggest mental obstacles that arise when choosing MustToday, we share how Elle addresses the biggest obstacle to choosing Must – the fear of failure:

While Must comes from somewhere deep inside of us, a beautiful truth that calls to us from within, Should comes from somewhere external, a place that’s equally important and powerful. Should comes from the place we call home, the people we love, the world we’ve created—the people, places, and things that define us.

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It is here, standing at the cliff’s edge, peering down below, hearing the siren’s call, that we feel the terrifying prospect of abandonment, failure, and humiliation. And this is the exact moment when people decide against taking the leap — to avoid that great unknown, that transformative place where nothing is written, nothing is guaranteed, and everything is possible.

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Grab a piece of paper and write the numbers one through ten on the left side of the page. At the top, title it “What am I so afraid of?”

This is your Worst Case Scenario list. This is your list of things that make you think “They’re all going to laugh at me.” These are your largest fears, and you’ve got ten minutes to write them down.


Line by line, walk yourself through each one.

Would they really laugh at you? They would? How do you feel about that? Line by line, have a conversation about all of your fears.

Would you really be homeless? Would you really be alone? Do you really need that much money?

This is a list of your tradeoffs. And they are the biggest things standing in your way.


LITGers, we challenge you not to just read this article, but to DO THE EXERCISE. And we don’t mean in your head, on your commute from work. Get out of your comfort zone and take 10 minutes to physically write down your fears on paper. Warning – it will be uncomfortable. You won’t want to think about it and you’ll think it’s silly.

But please, just trust us. Do it. But make sure you also do part 2 – where you walk yourself through each fear. Make yourself see the silliness behind each fear. If you need help, reach out to us in the comments below (or at if you prefer)! We’re always here for you.

After doing the exercise, we promise you will see a new perspective on your situation. When you stand on the edge of that cliff you’ll only feel excited to soar!


  • Aryliah

    What am I afraid of? Fear. Failure. Regret. Sacrificing depth of life for a false sense of security. That the best is behind me.

    I’ve known these things for almost 10 years, yet for 10 years not much has changed.

    Staring at this list now made me cry but it doesn’t change anything. How do I take this information and create change? : /

    • Jules

      Aryliah, how about you just take one small action every day. I’m not sure what it is you want to do, or what your passion is, but try to make a tiny action towards it each day. Maybe it’s writing down a goal or signing up for something….. Hope this helps!

  • Jules

    Also, yes we all tend to fear failure and regret, but think about the consequences of living your life as it is right now for the next ten years. Could you see this life continuing for the foreseeable future? Maybe that is actually scarier than to make that change or take that leap of faith. Just another thing to consider

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