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Conquering Fear One Bus Trip at a Time

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It's not that commuting by bike and or public transportation is fear inducing activity. However, it can be a discomforting feeling whenever you are going somewhere you've never been before via public transit and bike. "I want to take public transit, but I don't even know the neighborhood in the first place," I would use for an excuse before heading into my Civic. Not very green, right?

Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek talks about conquering these mini-fears, or the discomforts we avoid, in our daily lives. Inspired by his fear/risk chapter, I headed down to K-Town's The Prince to meet-up with the LAist crew for drinks. I felt anxious about the combo of bike/bus/subway to a neighborhood I hardly knew, but as Ferriss explains, risks aren't that scary once you take them.

"What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have." In this case, it was the uncomfortable situation of riding my bike in unknown territory, studying the map, checking the timetable for the last train out, arriving in a timely matter, having the correct change, etc.

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The trip ended up extremely satisfying. I sped through 4 chapters while on the bus and train, arrived car free and worked off some of the beer on the last leg of the trip when a girl at the bar challenged me to skip the bus and ride my bike from the Universal City Station to my home in Sherman Oaks, a 30-minute ride at midnight.

Since then, I have been much more comfortable arriving at events, ultimate frisbee games, theaters and other places via a combo of bike/metro. Even a trip from the Valley to the House of Blues in West Hollywood a few weeks ago was a cinch.

So go ahead, do something radical.

You have comfort. You don't have luxury. And don't tell me that money plays a part. The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those have no fear of discomfort.

~ Jean Cocteau

Photo of an OCTA Bus by The Bucky Hermit via Flickr