I heard someone say that explorers use fear to spur them on to adventure. It's not a fear of spiders I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the fear they encounter when they look into a pitch-black cave, wondering what's there. You can imagine the thought going through their head, "Is it going to have teeth, and will it want to eat me?"
Instead of allowing that thought to rule the mind, explorers use their curiosity to create something extraordinary to make it worth their while to step into that dark abyss. They know that they will encounter something of awe and wonder in their mind's eye.
I want to talk about the fear that mostly holds us back from experiencing the potential life offers. Most people stop at the entrance of that dark cave and turn around, never exploring the fullness of their potential. They reason that it could be dangerous and that it's just not worth the risk.
These mindsets keep us chained to our desks, paralyzed by fear of the unknown. We dream of one day entering that cave, exploring our fantasies of owning a business, changing professions, starting a relationship, and engaging with our passions. But for most, sadly, fear has them locked in a repeating cycle of always turning back from the mouth of that dark, scary cave.
In this "10 simple ways to improve…" and "from the comfort of your living room, see the seven wonders," world we live in, doing things that scare us is rare. We sit in our little life of comfort, all cozy and bored. We reach our limits and turn back to find our comfort zone once more.
Then we wonder about life and its meaning. We ask questions like, "why am I stuck in this dead-end job?" Or "how come good things always happen to those people and not me?"
Whatever the question you are asking, change it and ask something more daring.
What does life expect of me?
What could I do today that would scare me?
What would I do if I could do anything and knew I couldn't fail?
Take some time and answer these questions. You will find the answers probably won't surprise you. Why? Because you have been dreaming about them for a long time.
Through no fault of your own, you have become stuck in a world of safety. Through some fault of your own, you have bought into the world of comfort. Things are safe and comfortable, and I am alive; all is good in the world.
The brain is a fantastic thing, but sadly its limitation is that it wants to keep you safe and alive. I know not really a limitation but stick with me here. If the desk job you are not happy with keeps you safe and alive, your brain's job is to keep you there. "Why would you try something else?" "Trying something else might kill you," is what the brain is thinking, "so don't do it!"
I work with incarcerated youth who can be involved with gangs, guns, drugs, and crime. It is a scary life where kids get shot, stabbed, and beaten. The youth I work with put their lives on the line every day when they leave their hood. Yet, the thought of getting clean, sober, and engaged in "normal" life scares them so much that they will go back to what they know. The brain tells them that "normal" life is scary (it could kill them) because they don't see how it's done. So, they keep putting their life in danger because, in their minds, it has kept them alive for this long, so it will continue to keep them alive. It is a crazy and weird way of thinking, but to them, it makes sense.
We do what we know and are comfortable with, and this thinking stops us from using fear as the spark to ignite our passions and realize our full potential.
Nothing exciting, adventurous, or thrilling lives in the comfort zone. That is why it has that name. Whatever you need to do that creates a little discomfort, do it. When you step out of that circle of comfort, you enter the stretch zone. In here, all sorts of excitement and adventure await. It will be challenging and sometimes scary, but there is nothing like the thrill of embracing all that life has to offer and becoming your best self.
My challenge for you in this post is simple, do one thing today that scares you just a little. You don't need to jump out of a plane or go spelunking, but you could write a response to that social media post and put yourself out there a little. Whatever you do, make sure it places you in your stretch zone.
Go be a champion of change!