Hanoi, Vietnam

Experiencing Fear and Doubt – A Lesson from Hanoi


If you ever experience doubt or uncertainty, you are not alone.

I’ve always prided myself on being unwaveringly and unshakeably confident in the eyes of all those around me.

The truth is I am not always confident. I have doubts at times. I have insecurities. I have plenty of things in life I am unsure about.

I used to run away from things I was afraid of. I would run from any feelings of discomfort and insecurity.

I was always really good at attaching myself to things that I was really good at and things that came easy to me, and avoiding things that really challenged me emotionally.

It was great for capitalizing on my strengths but made me weak when dealing with things that scared me or made me emotionally uneasy.

That was one of the reasons I decided to take this trip around the world.

My strengths have always been working, achieving, and being productive.

My weaknesses have been dealing with downtime, times of being idle and not pursuing something tangible or big future goal, and taking time to just be present and live in the moment.

Quitting a great job, selling 90% of my things, not knowing where I will be sleeping a week from now, and dealing with times of idleness and boredom have proved to be as challenging as I expected it to be.

In the past, there was a place I could run to when feeling uneasy – work and achievement. Now there is nowhere to run.

There is only so much site-seeing and activities I can do to distract myself, but inevitably I must face these feelings of discomfort and learn to be at peace with them.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

There are a few ways I do that.

Meditation is the biggest and most powerful habit I have added to my life. I start every morning with anywhere from 10 – 26 minutes of meditation. Sometimes I do silent meditation and other times I do a guided meditation (Hence the 26 minutes). Meditation has been incredible for me.

Writing. Sometimes I sit down and journal about whatever is on my mind or challenging me at the moment. I just write about whatever I am thinking about. I don’t try to sensor it. I just write. These are things that are just for my eyes. Actually, I usually don’t even go back and read them. Just the act of writing is incredibly cathartic.

Other times, I do exactly what you are reading now. I write about something I am working on, challenged by, or realized. It helps solidify an idea, concept, or practice in my own mind, and by putting it out for the world to read, I deeply hope it benefits your life by reading it.

Movement practice. Doing some type of exercise every day does wonders for my sanity. Sometimes it is an intense lung-screaming, muscle-beating workout, and other times it is a stretching and mobility session. The key is to get my body moving. Also, I always do this while listening to a podcast to feed my mind while I am feeding my body.

If you ever feel uncertain, scared, or stressed about life, you are not alone. I experience it as well.

The key is to lean into that discomfort and make it your friend. Don’t try and run away. Don’t try to avoid it. You can’t outrun it no matter how hard you try.

It helps to deal with these feelings by having some powerful rituals like the ones I mentioned. You just learn to be able to sit down and be at peace with those feelings and emotions. When you do, they no longer have power over you.

At least that is the idea. I am still working on that last part.

– Matt Westheimer

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