As we continue in our dissection of Tim Ferris’ book, The Four Hour Work Week we continue onward into Chapter 3, entitled "Dodging Bullets." Typically each chapter starts off with a few quotes, either from pop culture or from historical figures. One of several quotes within the chapter is by none other than Star Wars’ Yoda:
Named must your fear be before banish it you can.
Quite a true sentiment that I have come to find is quite true – most of the time not wanting to own up to the fears that define particular parts of my personality. The more that we dwell on those fears and let them own us, the further that we continue to set into a sedimentary state – breaking free of such requires extreme circumstances. Typically we talk about hoping that someone gets a wake up call sometime to shake them out of something, whether it be an alcohol addiction or video game addiction, in this case, hoping that a person will own up to their fear and walk out on the ledge and face it and grow from it. One of the anecdotal stories that Ferris uses retells stories of a former LA lawyer and how he faced his fears learning to let go while hang gliding…
He had realized something while arcing in slow circles toward the earth – risks weren’t that scary once you took them.
We live in circumstances that define our lives. We live in a society that beats us down from taking a step toward confronting our fears for the most part, telling us to just accept life the way that it is. I ask myself the same question the lawyer asked himself, "What the hell did he [I] want?" Without knowing what I want, it’s hard to confront the circumstances that I live within to break free. But then again, stepping out on that ledge and just taking the plunge, whether in a relationship, with regard to work, or toward an alternate reality (not in a drug induced state mind you) makes one truly ponder when they get to that level… is this what I was so afraid of?
Ferris moves on to push the read to define their nightmare, leading into it with a quote from Benjamin Disraeli, the former British Prime Minister…
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
How true this is. We sit with shackles binding our wrists together, typically self enforced, refusing to take action in our circumstances, staying where we feel safe rather than thinking to see what we can do if we unbind them and be a little adventurous. The question we then must ask ourselves is if we choose to sit shackled and not remove them (our fears), will we be happy?
Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty… I was just as insecure and scared as the rest of the world… Pure hell forces action, but anything less can be endured with enough clever realization.
Defining the fear, the nightmare, stepping past it, we begin to see through the clouds, the haze begins to lift, the light streams through. What’s the worst that can happen? Rejection, it’s normal. Unhappiness, at least venturing out and finding that it’s not something that is pleasant we don’t have regret. Some might say that being content is the way to be, I argue this and would say that being content and living within your means is definitely good in a financial sense, but if you move outside the physical contentedness into what is commonly referred to as the perimeter around your comfort zone, the benefits and dividends (tax free at that) are priceless. So often we continue to just live one step away from hell, not taking the action. Finally once we move past the shackles and step out, we realize:
There was practically no risk, only life-changing upside potential, and I could resume my previous course without any more effort than I was already putting forth.
My challenge to you the reader, think about the fears in your life, think as to what they are preventing you from doing. Sure there are those fears that aren’t just fears in the physical sense, we wonder what the future will hold for us. And obviously there are several facets and factors to live, not being close to those we love does cause there to be separation issues which are hard to mend even with time. Additionally, taking into consideration the relationships of colleagues – yes it’s fine to bolt for a few weeks and go exploring, but if in a position that is edifying, leaving it for a year probably isn’t the best thing to do while exploring by backpack the mountains of Chile. Rather than attempting to conquer the capital Fears in your life, I challenge you to look at the little fears, even they define you in your personality. Resolve each and every day to work on living up to those fears.