Friday, April 13, 2012

A Life Lesson


I have a book titled,  How to Be Happy, Dammit (a cynic's guide to spiritual happiness). I love this orange, paperback book!  It's filled with just about every life lesson you'd need and it was written in a very humorous way; I love humor!  There are many life lessons included in this book, but the one I want to focus on today for my L word is #9.

The first life lesson or life skill that is useful for me everyday is thought since everything stems from thought, but this is a great life lesson as well:

All too often fear stops you from going where you need to go.
The author, Karen Salmansohn, shares a fable titled
                                                                "Dope On a Rope"
This criminal had committed a crime.  (Because hey, that's what criminals do.  That's their job.)  Anyway, he was sent to the king for his punishment.  The king told him he had a choice.  He could be hung by a rope or take the punishment behind the big dark scary steel door.  The criminal quickly decided on the rope.  As the noose was being slipped on him, he asked.  'Out of curiosity, what's behind that door?'  The king laughed and said, ' You know, it's funny.  I offer all you guys the same choice, and nearly all of you pick the rope.'  'So,' said the criminal.  'what's behind the door?  Obviously, I won't tell anyone,' he said, pointing to the noose around his neck.  The king paused then answered.  'Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope."

This is a great story to illustrate how too many times in my life I've taken the easy way because of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of what others would think of me.  And I call it the easy way, but all too often, I think that maybe the easy way would be to do things differently.  They (whoever they are) say, "If you want to keep getting what you've always gotten then keep doing things the same as you've always done."  I believe that's the definition of insanity.  

I am learning that life is so much more interesting if I do things a little differently and take some chances.  For instance, doing this blog was very scary for me, and then attempting the A to Z Challenge was kind of a huge leap for me.  I've learned that when I push through my fears, I feel better and learn something every time.  And we never learn anything if we don't step out of our comfort zones.  
So.....  fear works like interfear----stopping you from getting what you really want and/or need.  Next time you're afraid to do something new, remember:  "If you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you."

I remembered this quote last Summer when I drove over to a golf tournament in Bellingham to watch my youngest son compete.   I get self-conscious around people who I don't know and worry about how I look (not-useful self-talk).  I would think of this quote when I would get a little fearful and then just push through the fear.  It helped.  And really, nobody thinks about how I look or what I'm doing so I've wasted too many years worrying and just playing it safe when, really I was like the criminal who chose the rope when he could have had freedom.  Next time I think I'll choose freedom; that's how it feels when I step out of my comfort zone.

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