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The Courage to Live Life By Design Security is a myth, a perception, a superstition almost. It does not exist in nature, no other creature craves it, courts it or hankers after it and man-kind as a whole do not experience it...and nor should they. Yet we spend our lives with the false perception that security is the ultimate in human achievement, the peak of evolution. This view couldn't be further from the truth and actually inhibits our growth and well-being! Danger avoidance is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. But the contrast between the two states is stark and extreme. Avoidance of all things dangerous leads to an insipid and limited existence, whilst exposure to danger leads to a life of adventure and an ability to adapt and grow way beyond any perceived comfort zones. Life is either a daring adventure to be lived to the full, or nothing at all. This is not a bystander existence...you set your own destination and you forge your own path, no exceptions! Security is nothing more than stagnation, atrophy or death by another guise. A control to keep you in your place and designed to instil fear and lower the aspirations of those who choose to seek it out. The path to security leads to weakness and limitation and a very narrow view and perspective on life which gets narrower and more confined the longer you chase or covet it. "To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." - Helen Keller In the day-to-day running of our lives, we pay scant attention to the virtue of courage. This lofty accolade is a quality reserved for soldiers, fire-fighters, and explorers. Security is the only thing that matters today...the only thing to be concerned about. Most of us were taught at an early age to avoid being too bold or too brave. Not to put our heads above the parapet for fear of them being shot off. Not to take needless risks because they are too dangerous and draw too much attention to ourselves and those around us.
We are instructed to follow in the family footsteps, sticking with family traditions. Taking a path well-trodden by those who went before us, risking nothing, never straying and always following rules set down by somebody else. Remember to stay safe, be on your guard for suspicious-looking people and never talk to strangers. But a side effect of focusing on the importance of personal security in your life is that it forces you to live reactively, to live timidly and to be governed by others ideas of how your life should be. Instead achieve working working working of setting your own standards and goals, making plans to reach and them, and going after them with verve, you play it safe. You keep at the steady job, even though you hate it, dreading the start of every day and looking forward to the end of your shift or the end of the week .
You remain in a broken relationship, even though the love has long gone and you feel dead inside compared to the passion you once felt and had. A shell of the passionate creature you barely remember being...all because it was easier to buy in to the belief that you needed to crawl through life in safety, unscathed and unharmed, too afraid of what a full-on, unchecked version of life might throw at you. Who are you to think that you can buck the system? Just get on with it and accept your lot in life...and make the best of it. Jobs like these don't grow on trees! Go with the flow, and don't rock the boat... Your last bastion of hope is that the currents of life will pull you in a favourable direction. Fate will look favourably upon you as you keep your head down and wallow in the mire of stagnation you have created by playing it safe. However... Fortune favours the brave! There is no doubt that there are real dangers in life that you must overcome or avoid. But there is a huge gulf between recklessness and courage. I'm not referring to the courage required to risk your life to heroically pull someone from a burning wreckage. I am talking about the ability to face those imaginary fears and reclaim the far more powerful life that you've denied yourself. The fear of failure, rejection, of going broke, of being alone, of humiliation, of public speaking, of being ostracized by family and friends, of physical discomfort, of regret, of success. The fear of death and therefore the fear of living.
How many of these fears are holding you back? If nothing else I'll guarantee the last one is! How would you live if you had no fear at all? What if you still have your intelligence and common sense to safely guide you around any real dangers, but without feeling the emotion of fear? Would you be more willing to take risks, especially when the worst case scenario wouldn't actually hurt you at all? Would you speak up more often, stand up and be counted, talk to more strangers, ask for help, a promotion, a pay rise or even dive headlong into those ambitious projects you've been dreaming about? What if you even learned to enjoy the things you currently fear? What kind of difference would that make in your life? Have you ever previously convinced yourself that you aren't really afraid of anything... But that there are always good, logical and rational explanations for why you don't do certain things? "It would be rude to introduce yourself to a stranger in the street." "You shouldn't attempt public speaking because you don't have anything to say, you hate the sound of your own voice and, besides which, no body would listen to you anyway." "Asking for a raise in pay would be improper because you're supposed to wait until the next formal review and market conditions are not favourable." Blah blah blah! These are all just rationalizations, justifications if you will, excuses to hide your fear - now really stop and think about how your life would change if you could confidently and courageously do anything with no fear at all.
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