Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
– Steve Jobs
I was conversing with a friend the other day, and our conversation lingered on possibility and fear.
What do we do when we have a passion for something other than what we’re currently doing? Do we take the risk and cultivate our passion? Or do we stay “safe” and plod along with what’s secure, even though we’re malnourished and laboring in monotony?
Not an easy choice, especially when financial security comes into play.
And there’s always those times where risk is not prudent, where circumstances limit space for uncertainty. Maybe putting food on the table and maintaining shelter is the goal of the day and circumvents our desires — rightfully so, especially when we have a family to take care of.
Yet, we can still stand tall with our willingness to jump if opportunity presents itself.
Taking a chance or not brings me back to the quote above. When I first read it, I thought, “I use that tool too, and, yes, I am already naked.”
I don’t want to arrive at the end of my days regretting what I didn’t do, or what I wasn’t willing to try.
The reason for not trying narrows down to fear.
Fear of not having enough. Fear of failure. Fear of others seeing us, because to follow our dreams we have to open our hearts. Vulnerability abounds, and most of us are pretty tenderhearted and don’t want to be seen floundering in our imperfections.
Most of us only want to take a chance when success is guaranteed and the path is clear of all pitfalls and difficult challenges.
To stand tall without knowing that we’ll win, is scary. We may stumble across the finish line with nothing to note our effort except that we stuck in and finished.
That may not seem enough, and, yet, it is every single time.
Taking risks is messy and may or may not work. But what’s the point at the end of the day, if we haven’t stood tall in this world?
How are you following your heart today?
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