In Ken Coleman’s book One Question, he asks New York Times Best Selling Author Seth Godin about the concept of opportunities.
Godin’s answer was jarring: “…Most of us are blind to what’s possible. The reason is simple: we’re afraid. Fear is the flip side of opportunity. You can’t have one without the other, because opportunity represents change, and change, for all organisms, means flirting with death. Change is the enemy, because change brings risk.
Fear is our compass. It’s overrated as an effective warning tool, but in our culture, right now, the best opportunities all carry the same warning: Until you’ve adopted a posture that change is good and fear is part of the deal, you’ll remain paralyzed. Once you’ve shifted, though, choices become a lot clearer. Instead of seeking out a path that has no risk, realize that you’ve already signed up for risk and now your job is to find the best path, not the fear-free path.”
How many of us have been taught over and over to plan? Create? Play it safe?
Do the job. Get the degree.
Save the money and don’t you dare try something that could possibly hurt you.
But what happens if you die tomorrow?
Really? Have you ever thought about it?
I said goodbye to someone recently who I never thought I’d say hello to in the first place. Tears streaming out of every pore in my body, I looked out a train window and for the first time in my life I thought to myself, “It was worth it.”
It was worth the risk.
The pain I was feeling was worth the loss because it meant I had gained something.
Change is terrifying. From an evolutionary standpoint, being brought into a situation you’ve never experienced before is literally something our species rejects.
But, my friends, we are not talking matters of lions and tigers and bears.
We are talking the matters of living.
Of trying rather than listening to the voice of fear that festers in the back of our heads telling us to “play it safe” because that’s all we’ve ever known.
Ken then goes on to recount the story of Apple’s twelfth employee, Mark Stephens. In 1977, Stephens even helped Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak move out of a garage and into their first office.
He recalls, “Jobs didn’t have much cash so he tried to pay people like me in stock. But I held out for cash—I think six dollars an hour. It was, uh, a big mistake.”
What would it look like to take the risk?
Seize the opportunity?
Let go of the facade safety and security has chained us into all these years?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think wisdom is accumulated at six dollars an hour.
Maybe change in currency is all we really need to see the value of life.