Smash through your biggest fear with this French fries technique

October 31, 2022

It was a cold, dark winter in a tiny ski resort where a box of crispy golden fries defined the course of my life. 

I’d seen a snowboard contest on TV that was followed by “Holy-shit-that-is-so-cool-I-must-learn-how-to-do-that” moment which then led to my buddy Oscar and I unscrewing the trucks and wheels of our skateboards and sliding uncontrollably down a hill behind his house. 

Bruised, yet excited we begged our parents to take us to the local ski resort just to realize that having your feet strapped to a piece of plywood pointed down the hill like a tomahawk, was much harder and scarier than we’d anticipated.

For hours we tried snowboarding at the bottom of the hill having our asses handed back to us raw, swollen and the color of ripe blueberries. 

Next, I sought out a hot ski instructor to show me the ropes but all I got out of it was a mad crush and a bruised ego.

By this time I was desperate and had one last ace up my sleeve. My friend’s big brother Peter, whom I worshipped, was a local snowboard hero. I was going to beg him to teach me how to snowboard.

One night I saw Peter at the bottom of the slopes. He was wearing a yellow anorak jacket, a tube hat, and frozen XXXL size blue jeans. 

He had the coolest steeze I thought and walked up to him. “If I bought you a set of fries would you teach me how to snowboard for an hour?”

He smiled and told me to grab my board and meet him at the anchor lift.

We got to the top of the hill and my heart was trying to rip its way out of my chest. I had never been further up the hill than ten meters and I was terrified looking down at the steep slope all the way down to the parking lot. 

Next, he asked me to ride down the hill little ways so he could gauge where I was at with my skills.

All I could do was carefully inch my way down the hill on my heel edge and not even imagine turning the nose of my snowboard downhill to make the turn to my toe edge. 

He rode up to me and kneeled down. My eyes were bloodshot. Peter looked straight at me and said “What you’re doing is very hard. I was afraid to ride down the steep slopes too when I started. You got this. I believe in you. We’ll do this together and you have nothing to be afraid of.”

At that moment something clicked. 

For the next hour, he kept coaching me, leading the way, showing me how to fall without hurting myself and how to lean forward instead of having my weight on my back foot which made turning harder. 

Slowly, turn by turn I learned to trust the plywood tomahawk strapped to my feet.

An hour later, head held high and a big smile on my face I walked up to the restaurant counter, asked the cashier for a set of fries and handed them over to Peter.

I had overcome my fear and learned how to snowboard. 

The rest is history as seven years later I turned pro and spent almost a decade living my dream of traveling and snowboarding all around the world and making a career out of being covered in the biggest snowboard magazines and movie productions.

The lesson I’d like to pass on to you is this. 

I have fears. You have fears. The people you look up to have fears. We just don’t know others have them because our demons are invisible to others. They reside out of sight inside our heads.

And most of the time they’re 10X bigger than the danger itself. 

Acknowledge your fear first. Then find someone who’s already done what you want to do. Buy them fries. Or don’t be a broke kid like I was and buy them a full five-course meal including the dessert and you have all the time you need to ask them good questions you've planned ahead.

Then with heart palpitations, butterflies and all face your fear and step over it. 

You got this boss. I believe in you.

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beardJussi Tarvainen

Former pro snowboarder. Author at night. Multi(failed)-entrepreneur. And mostly an awesome designer (said, my five-year-old son).

plenty more loot in the vault

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