How To Stop Being Afraid of Looking Stupid

Embarrassment is fuel. Use it.

Anthony Moore
8 min readAug 3, 2021


Fear of looking stupid is the #1 killer of dreams.

The worst part? The people who make you feel stupid are usually the ones least qualified to judge someone else’s life. Their own lives are falling apart, yet they constantly tear down others around them.

I was talking with my friend the other day, and he told me about an incident in 1st grade that would shape his life for the next 20 years.

There were several large rocks outside my friend’s classroom. The “cool kid” of the class was showing off, hopping from rock to rock with grace and agility.

My friend saw his classmates’ admiration and awe, and wanted that for himself. So, he tried to hop from one rock to another. However, he slipped and fell in the dirt. When he got up, his entire bottom was covered in mud.

My friend told me that to this day, he could still remember the sound of their jeering and laughter at his failure.

He also told me he’s been deathly afraid of trying new, potentially-embarrassing things ever since that day in 1st grade.

Most people are living on someone else’s terms. They live to avoid fear, risk, and embarrassment. In most cases, this mindset comes from early memories or childhood. It’s crazy how much power these little memories have over us; how much power we’ve given to others, just so they wouldn’t laugh at us.

But you don’t have to be afraid anymore. You don’t have to live in fear, living reactively in a way that avoids embarrassment.

I lived in fear my whole life, always playing by the rules. I did that, so you don’t have to — that route has no happiness, fulfillment, or joy.

Now, I do what I want. I work for myself. I write whatever I want to write about, and I’m not afraid of looking stupid anymore.

Here’s how to stop being afraid of looking stupid and consistently live the life you want.

There’s No Reason To Get Embarrassed or Afraid

“There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up.” -Ryan Holiday



Anthony Moore

Writer for CNBC, Business Insider, Fast Company, Thought Catalog, Yahoo! Finance, and you.