There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
Taking the easy way out seems like such a desirable option when you are mired in the reality of attempting something so much bigger. You watch others who have made the choice to live what would appear to be easier lives, and you cannot help but wonder whether what you are doing was wise, or perhaps that most stupid thing you could have possibly set your life to accomplishing. And somewhere, from deep within, that voice propels you to higher ground and you summon the courage to continue.
For me to wallow in any of the self-imposed misery I have created, while discussing a quote from Nelson Madela is laughable at best. His misery knew boundaries that mine would never have known. And he rose from all of it to become one of the greatest figures in contemporary history.
I write this small reminder to any of you who have set a course in life that appears daunting, and which continually gives you huge pause for concern, to try a quick experiment that I use when I am at wit’s end. When I get to the breaking point, I envision how I would feel if the cause of my strife were removed and that I had a cushy 9-5 job working for someone else.
At first encounter with that fantasy, there is a tiny moment of elation. I won’t lie to you. Taking the burden of life off of my shoulders for a second and envisioning that new reality, looks really good at first blush. Then… I start to weigh the consequences of that action.
I envision first, the loss of my dream. The prospect of a boss. The prospect of working with others whom I must work with in order to make my living. My time, no longer being mine to determine, and a host of other realities that come with the territory.
By the time I have gone through the full fantasy, I have once again convinced myself that it is easier to continue to push my proverbial boulder up the mountain, than it is to take the short cut and go for the easy solution.
Nelson’s assessment that we will not find the same passion in a life without our dream, could not be more prescient. The reality is that we live for dreams. We envision them, and we pursue them with everything we have. The dream is the food of life that nourishes our soul on levels that we cannot fully comprehend, but in the exercise above, we can begin to approximate.
So when life is beating you up, like mine was this morning, I advise you to take full inventory, take action on what you can, and summon all of the courage to accelerate full speed forward into your destiny.
Because nothing short of living up to your full measure means much of anything long term.