Tasting the Acorn

Attitude

October 22, 2009

Everything in life comes down to attitude. Live the right attitude and life will be better. The wrong attitude can be fatal.

I've lived my life in fear of so many things that I ended up living in a hole too afraid to come out. Over the years I've had opportunities to spend over a year living and working in a foreign country, to emigrate to Australia, to experience extremes of living and to love, but I've completely failed to take advantage of them for one simple, stupid reason...

Fear.

And this is what recently became all too clear... it lead me to a life that had no life.

I went to work and I did my job well. I came home and I threw myself into projects that were essentially no different to being at work, except I was home alone. I'm not trying to diminish the things I achieved with some of those projects, but they were no substitute for doing new things, spending time with people, seeing the world and experiencing everything life has to offer.

Fear was the reason, and it was always irrational. I know many people who might read this are probably thinking that the prospect of moving to another country for longer than a holiday is pretty scary. And it is, but since when was that a reason to not do it? Since when was that a reason to not do anything?

One of the most obvious differences between adults and children is that children initially have no fear - it gets learnt as they get older. And they learn by making mistakes. As adults we tend to avoid things that might be a mistake because we've learnt that mistakes tend to hurt, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, but it's the only way we move forward.

I once read somewhere that if you're not constantly making mistakes you're not trying hard enough, and it's true. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they'll tell you they've failed more than they've succeeded, but just like kids they've picked themselves up and moved on quickly. This is why they've succeeded; they've not become consumed by their failures because they take what they need from them and apply that to the next opportunity.

I've always been someone who analyses possible outcomes to a ridiculous degree, to the point where when deciding what to do I'll actually do nothing because I can't stop coming up with more possible eventualities, and most of them will be bad, or maybe I just choose to focus on the bad possibilities.

The way I react to fear has now changed completely. I now see it as a warning sign that I might want to take a minute to consider what I'm thinking about doing in a bit more detail before acting, but it's no longer a stop sign. It's more like an "are you sure you want to do this", combined with a "check why you're doing this before you do it".

The idea that something is too hard has all but disappeared from my thoughts; I now just have levels of difficulty, and I weigh up the costs against the benefits of anything that scares me. So far since I adopted this new attitude there's very little I haven't been prepared to do, but I'm very aware that it hasn't been long and I haven't faced anything particularly monumental yet, but I do know I'm developing the skills I'll need to deal with the bigger things when they come.

So don't let fear stop you being all you can be. I've wasted twelve years of my life keeping my experiences limited to those I knew and understood, and it took an extremely unlikely series of events to make me accept there's a better way. If you let fear control your life then you won't have a life.

Living without a life is just existing. Choose life, it's so much better from this side, I promise.

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