Cause of death: Embarrassment

As far as I know, this has never happened.

Embarrassment is the feeling of unwanted exposure.  You’re suddenly in the open for something you did, said or stepped in.  You replay the event over and over in your head, trying to find some saving grace.  Some blush mildly and laugh it off.  For others, the constant replay loop magnifies the whole thing way out of proportion.  People tell you not to worry about it, that nobody really noticed and everybody’s been through something similar.  But you know you’re the only person in the world who just gave a Q4 presentation with your fly so vastly open, it revealed the 8th dimension.  Also, when you shuffled about trying to mute the sound of gastro-relief? Yeah, everybody totally heard it.

So what’s a guy to do when faced with massive embarrassment? Accept it and remind yourself that it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.  That’s really about all you can do.  Whether it’s a discrete event or a massive blunder (I’m looking at you Netflix…), it’s happened.  Take a walk or yell into a bag.  Whatever you need to do to blow off some steam and continue.  And know that something like this will happen again.  Here’s the thing about embarrassing yourself very publicly.  You will realize that A) You’re still around afterwards and B) People don’t really give a damn because C) You’re really not as important to others as you think you are.  This is probably why celebrities who get busted for shoplifting, flashing the camera and being orange on Jersey Shore don’t care about embarrassment anymore and continue to cash cheques.  Immunity to embarrassment is the first step towards being a successful anything.  Laugh at those orange people all you want, they’re probably living their dreams.

Any episode of American Idol will tell you that the desire for fame clearly strangles any inhibition due to embarrassment.  These kids audition in front of hundreds of millions.  They’re willing to risk failing publicly for your after-dinner entertainment.  Instead of calling them no-talent hacks and mocking them, perhaps you should laud them for their courage.  I’d say they are already a bit further ahead than the folks sitting at home laughing at them.  A person willing to fail is a person who has a greater chance of winning.  Massive public failures have happened to the most powerful people on the planet.  People who can accept failure as part of the path to winning intrinsically accept that embarrassment is going to come with it.  The difference is how quickly people move on.

“…if you can sit happy with embarrassment, there’s not much else that can really get to ya.” – Christian Bale

Do not ruin his shot.

This coming from a guy who was recorded verbally trashing a set-worker for eating a sandwich or something.  Look it up yourself on Youtube.

Starting and failing is embarrassing.  Not starting because you’re afraid of the embarrassment that may come from failing is stupid.

As for no deaths being caused by embarrassment?

I was wrong.

Millions of potentially great ideas have already died because of embarrassment.