Most people think that fear is what stops them from moving forward. Fear of the unknown. I read an article recently (“How to make big, bold, wildly exciting things happen in your life“) that made me question this, and to consider that comfort is in fact far more damaging than fear.
I’ve had some interesting and in-depth conversations with a friend who’s working through a major shift in her life and the word “fear” keeps coming up as the over-riding problem and now, when I reflect on our conversations, I realise that while fear is there somewhere, comfort is the true guilty party.
She has been too comfortable. The income good. The work familiar. The routine secure and comfortable. Why would you change anything?
Deep down though, you know if something isn’t right, because it will feel like a compromise, even if it is indeed a comfortable compromise. The problem is, we are all taught that compromise is a virtue. That’s how we get along in the world. We don’t rock boats. We don’t upset apple carts. We want to be accepted.
Many of us are unfortunately instilled with some form of “martyr syndrome”. We have to sacrifice ourselves in order to feel like we are doing any good. My friend and I have similar cultural backgrounds and upbringing, and I understand how intense the conditioning is. I used the analogy of being in cult and likened this conditioning to brainwashing, and to accept that it will take some time to undo this brainwashing. It will take courage, support and persistence.
I’m a bit of a sci-fi buff and the Matrix movies came to mind when I was writing this post. For those familiar with the plot, you will remember that in a futuristic world, unbeknownst to them, people were hooked up to massive computers that simulated life.
The main character knew that something was just not quite right about his world and was motivated to find out what it was, but most of the people in this fake world just carried on with their fake day-to-day lives.
While the movie takes this concept to an extreme, real life sometimes isn’t that far off. Are you living a life of compromise or are you living authentically?
- Self Matters (Coach Mi Book review)
- Fear, scarcity and value (Seth’s Blog)
- The Seven Fears of Highly Successful People. ~ Martin Murphy (elephantjournal.com)