WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Todd Dewett | March 17, 2020
|(This was written weeks before our new normal arrived with the coronavirus. It applies to me. It applies to you. Maybe even more relevant now than ever?)
Most people are paralyzed by fear. Most fears are irrational. Consequently, most people are acting irrationally! I acknowledge that fear can be useful, though very often it is not. Fear drives us to think about many threats and constraints. Most of them are not real or are overblown.
There are many crippling varieties of fear. I can’t change my standard of living. I don’t want to take the risk since I’m married. I can’t do that – I have kids. I don’t want to risk others seeing me fail. I don’t have the extra time to do that. The list is long…
Fears amuse me at some level. Don’t get me wrong. I experience them too. But I keep asking myself, “What are you afraid of?” Then I recall the obvious – we all leave the planet in the same manner. It’s unavoidable. What makes us different is how we choose to live.
I’ve read many books, blogs, and posts that address this issue. However, likely the message that had the biggest impact is Steve Job’s famous Stanford University graduation speech. Fresh from a fight he won against cancer (one he later fought again and lost), he reminded us to look past common fears to make the choice to truly live.
More specifically, he told us to look back and connect the dots. For me, this is a call for reflection, perspective, and personal growth. He told us to expect love and loss. I translate this to mean, you win some and you lose some – but don’t let the losses or pains ever stop you from experiencing the wins and joys. Finally, he said to live as if this was your last day. A classic call to examine the use of your time!
When I put all of this together, I must ask myself: How many days are you willing to not live fully before your call bullshit and start to make changes? It’s not an easy question. It is, however, one of the most important questions you’ll face in life.
For me, this is serious. I accept the lows as part of the journey that gives me so many life-defining highs. I’ve failed many times, often on a large scale, and publicly! Fine. I choose to persevere, learn, and try again. This attitude has taken me to places that still blow my mind. Thanks for the reminder, Steve.
Now I’m reminding you. Connect the dots, expect love and loss, and live today as if it were your last. Or, you can play it safe and endeavor to minimize all risks in your life. If you succeed, you’ll surely be boring. If you choose to follow Steve’s advice and attempt to live more fully, sure, you’ll experience serious bumps in the road, but at least you’ll have a few amazing stories to tell – and you certainly won’t be boring.
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Goals: Goals must be challenging and clear, but they are not sacred and untouchable. Your interests change, your environment changes, many situational variables change. Keep your list relevant and focused: once every few months ask yourself if any goals should be removed, added, or changed.