Time To Get Comfortably Uncomfortable.

Fear is one hell of a thing. Under the right circumstances, a small amount of fear set a fire under us and act as a sort of motivation. A sign that whatever you’re doing, you’re taking it seriously or it means something to you.

But left unchecked, it can grow out of control and transform into a monster that holds you back, stops you from doing things you’d like to. And sometimes the things that you need to do in order to grow.

So let me tell you the story of how one of my favourite YouTubers, Tom Scott, overcame one of his biggest fears. Rollercoasters.

Click, click, click, click, click…

For anyone who doesn’t know who Tom Scott is, think back to the magazine TV shows of the 90s and 2000s.

One week he’s covering the only airport that’s also a public beach. A few weeks later, he’s covering a shooting range where you fire over a busy road. Then he’s on top of the 600 ton 150-year-old roof of the Royal Albert Hall.

He’s done all the elements before in other videos, the speed, the height, high g-forces, inversions, and acrobatics. None of that is new to him.

What gets Tom is the click, click, click, click, click going up the lift hill, being strapped in, no stop button, no pilot, no brakes, the panic inducing tingling feeling, and the feeling you get in your stomach as the car crests the hill before it…


“I can do this; I can do this!”

The key to Tom overcoming his fear was to take it one step at a time. And being introduced to each coaster with the engineering team at Alton Towers, showing him how each one worked.

First Runaway Mine Train. A small, powered coaster suitable to people of all ages. No drops. The sort of ride you’d take a kid on to introduce them to ‘coasters. Nothing special. But normally this would have been Tom’s comfortable limit.

Next up was Wicker Man. A ride themed after the film of the same name. More intense lift hills, sweeping bends and g-force inducing sweeps and turns.

After psyching himself up at the station, he fastened the harness and began his journey up the first lift hill. Trying hard as he could to remain calm and breathe through it, he let out a few mighty shouts. There was no way he was going to just breathe through this.

After the first few rises, falls, sweeps through the corner sections, and shouts. Tom has a realisation. For the first time, he’s enjoying being on a coaster, and shouts, “I can do this, I can do this!”

That feeling in the pit of his stomach, the drop he experienced going over the crest of the ‘coaster wasn’t a physical thing, wasn’t his stomach dropping. It was just fear.

Then came the biggie, a 700 meter long, 250-ton, 81 km/h top speed, 3.5g beast with 4 inversions, 2 corkscrews, 1 zero g roll and a vertical loop. Nemesis.

After psyching himself up, he pulled down the harness into its locked position and prepared himself.

The ride was more intense than the others up to this point. But after the familiar fear climbing the lift hill, he was back into enjoying the ride through its corkscrews and inversions. Before he knew it, he was coming back into the station, letting out a shout of “I like rollercoasters. I love rollercoasters. “

All he needed to do was to just do it. Not let the fear hold him back and just enjoy the rise the coaster was tasking him on. Having the realisation that he could have been enjoying this for years, if he didn’t let his fear hold him back.

Strap in and enjoy the ride.

“What’s that got to do with a self-reflective blog at an ad school?” Well, SCA is my rollercoaster.

Something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’ve been putting off because it scares me. I was waiting for the exact right time to do it (The right time never arrives, by the way). And it’s something that means a lot to me.

The idea of getting up on stage and reading out what I wrote is thrilling, at the same time I have that stomach-drop fear. The idea of presenting to clients. The pressure of coming up with novel and unexpected ideas. D&AD and following in the footsteps of some highly successful people. It all gives me that fear.

But I can’t let that irrational fear stop me.

Like Tom and the ‘coasters, I need to break it down into small manageable bits. Breathe through it and learn to enjoy the ride that SCA is going to send me on over the next few months.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch a video about the world’s most useful model railway.


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