One of the worst feelings in life is being stuck. There is so much potential for accomplishment and fulfillment out there, and yet there are times when it feels like we reach a point where we simply aren’t progressing. We may try new things, but they don’t provide that feeling of progress that we’d been hoping for.
Far too often it’s fear that holds us back. We fear talking to our bosses about a raise. We fear trying new things. We fear travel, standing up for ourselves, starting new relationships, and so much more.
Fear occurs because we think of the worst case scenario. Our minds are attuned to wanting to avoid danger. Although most of those examples above are not necessarily dangerous, the same principle applies:
Talking to our boss can get us fired.
Starting a new relationship can cause us to get hurt.
Relocating can change your close relationship with family and friends.
But these fears can mask something that is arguably more important – the reward.
Fears have a tendency to overwhelm the risk and reduce the value of the reward. Yet in your life, there are often times where the reward is far greater than the risk. Starting a new relationship, for example, could mean everlasting love, children, and so much more, all for a risk that you might be hurt for a few weeks. Talking to your boss about a raise will most likely do nothing, but could help you reduce your financial burden and feel more confident in your job.
When you focus on the fear, the reward seems small. But you only have one life to live. You have values, dreams, ambitions, and the right to feel satisfied in your life. Rather than let fear overcome you, look at the potential rewards, and then only briefly take a quick glance at the rare, unlikely risk. Often you’ll find that the way you will feel and what you can achieve if you take the risk, is often far greater than the few days of discomfort and shame you would feel if something goes wrong.
Determining When to Jump
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to take all risks thrown your way. If you’ve never wanted to skydive, and you don’t like heights, and you find the idea of jumping from a plane uninteresting, then don’t jump. The risk isn’t worth the reward to you, because even though skydiving is safe, it’s not a dream you have or something that appeals to you.
But if you have wanted to skydive your entire life, then the reward can be life changing. The risk of death from skydiving is 1 in 100,000. Your risk of dying in a car accident in any given year is 1 in 6,000. The risk of death for a single jump is very low. So what of the reward? 99,999 people who made the jump are now living their lives feeling more accomplished, more content, and more ready to take on the next challenge. They took the risk, and enjoyed the magic of the consequences.
Fear can prevent you from seeing the potential benefits of taking a leap and seeing what happens, even though most of the time the risk is nothing more than embarrassment or discomfort.
Faith is putting your trust in something that is much bigger than you. You have to put your trust in the knowledge that God plays a role in your destiny and that as human beings we are not in complete control of all things.
See the Rewards – Make Progress
Talking to your boss is highly unlikely to get you fired, and if it does? Well, chances are that probably wasn’t the right place for you to work anyway. Starting a new relationship doesn’t mean you’re going to get hurt. And if you do? Well, you learn more about who you’d like to date and who isn’t right for you, all while you probably created some fun memories.
Yes, there are risks in all aspects of life. But we only live once. It’s time to focus on the rewards first, and the fears second, and start focusing your energy on what you can gain – not the unlikely risks that hold you back.
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