Why people are afraid to do what they actually want to

February 28, 2011

Disclaimer: I'm not talking about people who may be responsible for others, perhaps those who are married or have children. To sacrifice their dreams for the greater good of family is honorable and noble. Now to those who are single...As I continue to purge my life, I am re-discovering conversations that happened year ago, but are so relevant today. It was a letter from my friend who was talking about how she was unhappy with her job. She wanted to travel and really move to a different industry, but she felt that her degree pigeon-holed her to a specific field. In the letter she writes to me about how she's going to quit her job and make all these changes.This was four years ago. She is at the same job.Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being content with your life. Some people love what they are currently doing and completely satisfied and joyful of the life they are living. This is what we all pursue, and I commend that. That said (here comes the cynical rage), I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for people who desire change and different things, and do absolutely nothing about it.There is a scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker attempts to get his X-Wing out of the swamp in the Dagobah system, using the force. He doubts his ability. Finally Master Yoda uses his powers to recover the X-Wing. Luke says, "I don't believe it." Yoda simply responds, "And that is why you fail."

As I was walking Green Lake today I came to this conclusion: perhaps it's not that people are afraid that they will fail, but are afraid of succeeding. Perhaps it is the fear that we are more powerful than we possibly imagine, and by being successful, we raise the bar each time. We expect more. We are able to do more, and it requires more work.It's intimidating.I really believe that in a lot of cases people would rather not succeed to make an excuse to not do so and have something to talk about. When you go meet up with people and have conversations, observe and listen how much of the conversation is about what people want to do vs. actually doing it. Dreaming and having plans are better than having no plans, but a great concept has no value unless it lives in the physical state—execution.Yes, it's possible that I am feeling a sort of high or a bit cynical since quitting my job to go freelance and travel. However, my argument is I've always had these feelings. Trust me, there is a lot I say I want to do that I have not done yet.It's time to stop making excuses. Everything certainly has situational content, but look at things at the core again.

  • The economy is bad. There are obviously other people finding jobs, so what is it? People survived the depression. We too, can get over this.
  • I don't have enough money. You know what I did when I ran out of Tiberium in Command and Conquer? I harvested more! Todd MacFarlene said it best when he simply described spending in this way: if you want more money, make more of it or spend less of it. Don't say moving to New York would be too expensive because of the rent. The rent is high, so don't bring a car and make payments on it and pay for the insurance and maintenance on the freaking thing.
  • I can't meet guys/girls here. Maybe your type is not here or you haven't made a strong enough effort to meet someone. Or maybe, to be brutal honest, you're just not that desirable. Okay, if you're not, how can you change that?
  • I don't know what I want to do. Well dammit, you better figure it out then, huh?

Okay, so my list is not that simple. Or maybe it is. I say it is.People need to realize to really achieve what you want, it requires blood sweat and tears. Look at people who have families, how hard they have to work to keep the household running. It's most certainly easier to not do anything and fail then work hard to potential achieve with a chance of failure. Here's an example workflow of someone wanting a job:If they want to succeed: Spend hours researching jobs, refreshing the resume, building a portfolio, applying, going to interviews (with a chance of failure), following up, applying to more jobs, learning skills they don't have, etc.If they want to fail: Not do anything but be able to talk about it constantly.My friend Angela shared this wonderful quote with me and I think there is a lot of value to reflect on this:"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us..."So I ask you...are you afraid of failing and believing that you are incapable, or afraid of your potential and what you can achieve? As a fellow human being to another, I challenge you to at least contemplate this.I leave you with this Jordan commercial, one of my favorites. It's time to stop making excuses and become Legendary.

Proof of Concept: The 000 Series

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