“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Fear is a debilitating emotion. It causes people to accept comfort even though they are miserable in that comfort. They would rather be miserable living in comfort than face the unknown, even if that unknown could potentially lead them to tremendous wealth or overwhelming happiness. Ridiculous to think fear is the sole reason behind most of the population’s apathy. Listen to me preaching like fear has never stopped me from pursuing something. The truth is fear affects ALL of us at times. It is an emotion that protects us from being harmed. Unfortunately, emotions such as fear cannot always be rationalized, which limits us from achieving something far more significant than comfort.
I made the decision to walk away from a 22-year career, three years away from retirement. The decision was tough but easy at the same time; I made it without hesitation. Sounds crazy, but the decision to walk away was made years ago. That was the reason I went back to school to further my education. I intended on leaving the profession. The actual walking away part just came sooner than I anticipated and under unexpected circumstances. That’s not to say the decision was any less painful or difficult; however, I knew it was the right decision.
I remember people telling me I was insane for walking away that close to retirement; just be miserable for three more years was all I heard. My overall wellbeing was not going to survive three more years of misery. I found an alternative solution where I can still draw my pension in three years. Point being is YOU can find an alternative solution to YOUR suffering too. YOU don’t have to settle for misery just because you are comfortable with your situation. YOU can be comfortable and happy with your situation. I know this sounds foreign to you, but it’s true.
I’m not declaring you shouldn’t be fearful of people, things, situations, or circumstances. That fear may be rationalized by hard evidence to support such an emotional response. Fear is present to protect you from that particular person, thing, situation, or circumstance. I’m referring to fear that cannot be rationalized by hard evidence; unjustified fear based on irrational logic. The thing with fear is it can be controlled or managed. Life is too short to live in misery. You were meant for something more significant that’s likely why you are miserable in the first place.
Like me, you likely settled into a career that no longer meets your evolving expectations. Push fear aside and go pursue your calling. That may mean taking a step backward to move forward. There is nothing wrong with taking a step backward knowing that the steps forward will be in line with your passion. Those small positive steps forward will be much easier than running on the hamster wheel of misery; sprinting really, really fast to nowhere. Don’t fear failure. Do fear missing out on your true calling. Get off your hamster wheel of misery and find YOUR true purpose in life.