[Applied Self-Confidence] Pushing Through Crowds

There’s a scene I’ll never forget in EarthBound where you have to push through a crowd of people to get somewhere. Some let you go peacefully; others fight you. This scene happens often in life. If you want to use the restroom at a crowded concert, you’ll have to figure out how to navigate crowds. This is the same for doing anything in life. Just stand there and wallow in your discomforts or push through!

This show wasn’t that crowded.

During a boring band performance, however, after a mental exercise externalizing the events as though I were writing a short story, I thought about how tough it can be to navigate crowds at shows and navigate in life. Is that because we focus ourselves so much on what other people think of us or how we’ll act that we don’t react with necessary spontaneity or force?

Let’s consider how most people at shows aren’t dressed professionally.

The atmosphere distinctly is one where you’re not impressing your boss, coworkers, or customers with social cues indicating professionalism. A moshpit might form in front of you and might cause perceived danger, but even if you’re pushed around a little bit, you’ll get picked up and patted on the back. Everyone will make sure you’re OK. It’s that sort of temporary discomfort that leads to permanent comfort.

These environments remind me to stop taking things so seriously.

When my vocational job becomes vapidly jabbing, going to a show, or doing anything that’s outside my comfort zone of work-home-sleep shakes the cobwebs out. Let’s say you only go to one name brand grocery store. Why not go somewhere that sells things in languages you can’t read? Why not walk to a different bodega? Why not drive a different route home? Why follow the same routines?

There are suboptimal routes, of course, but try them anyways.

If we concern ourselves with only buying the objectively highest-quality, cheapest goods, we miss subjective opportunities that could be more exciting. Pushing a rusty shopping cart through an uneven grocery store that smells like spilled wine and sells expired soda can show you things outside yourself that might catch your interest, yield cheap prices, or spark some creativity in otherwise mundanity.

If we don’t push ourselves outside our comfort zone, we’d never know.

I think of a comfortable life as one where I can think of something, like “I’d like to go to the restroom,” and not be inconvenienced by the people I’d have to kindly disrupt along the way to get there. Tapping on their shoulder or wiggling through will usually do.

That same analogy applies to everything in life.

If it’s “I’d like to be a writer,” what skills would I need to learn to get there? Writing is mostly about observing reality and recording it. In EarthBound, Itoi captured the feeling of navigating through a busy crowd as an inconsequential vignette where you must learn to approach these people to proceed.

If only we were taught this.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Other than the aforementioned? This was a more scattered essay probably because I wrote it later in the evening and didn’t have as much of a theme tying it together. It’s more about pushing your thoughts of what other people think of you out of your mind and just achieving your goals.
Related: Other Applied Self-Confidence essays.
Photo: I’ve taken other shots like this by accident that looked better, but I don’t have them as accessible, so this was just at an Arkona show.
Written On: September 16th [44 minutes, from 7:15pm to 7:59pm with a two-minute respite at 7:25pm after writing the intro paragraph to soak in a flash rainstorm, WordPress]
Last Edited: September 16th [First draft; final draft for the Internet, even though if we’re honest with each other, it’s kind of a mess. I’m fine with that, however.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.