Always Do What You Are Afraid to Do
I had never read any Emerson at the time; in fact, I would come to live my life by contrasting policies. But standing in the doorway of the dorm room at Duke where I would spend the next month, I had a realization that could not have been better expressed by anyone but Emerson: "always do what you are afraid to do." It was a moment not of selfish individualism, like much of Emerson's dissertations, but of zen: I recognized that the cumulative effect of my 14 years of life experience meant that I knew exactly how to behave if I wanted to do something I had never been bold enough to try before. All I had to do was cast aside my lack of confidence and step up to the plate.