Every decision, at the most elemental common denominator, is an action taken in response to: (1) fear of a negative outcome, or (2) opportunism found in any given set of circumstances.

Ironically, the same person, given the same set of circumstances and facts can assess these identical inputs and come to wildly different conclusions about what action to take. The reason this is true is…a single person can, at any one moment, utilize any number of perspectives in viewing the world around him or her.

When we make decisions based on fear, it’s very likely that we are seeing the world and our current circumstances through a small keyhole that presents a narrow and limited view of the reality right in front of each of us. The challenge is…our brains are wired to frequently generate warnings – or fear – to ensure we don’t do dangerous things throughout our lives without consideration for the potential downside. But, when we utilize our built-in warning system (that is, fear) as the final arbitrator of our decision making process, we become victims, lock away our freedom to choose, and miss monumental opportunities to grow and flourish.

Author Christine Hassler once described those people that can only see the future through the lens of fear as those who have, ‘a profound lack of imagination’ (or words to that effect). Put differently, people who are gripped by fear and therefore that cannot see the immediate future as anything other than negative and scary, fail to see the thousands of other potential future states – many of which are hugely positive and life-giving.

Finding real success in life is most often a process of developing the skills to hold many perspectives, dialing in on the future state that best serves your unique purpose, and finding physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, and spiritual fuel to succeed – as you connect and align your actions, motive, and purpose to the present and changing set of circumstances.

Successful people consistently succeed, because reality gives them an inch, and they take a mile. People succeed, because they climb towards the crack of daylight that splits the wall of utter darkness – while others choose to fix their stare at the unrelenting black, and decide all is lost. In this fear-based headspace, people become the antithesis of what it means to be human. They lose their capacity to offer compassion, kindness, mercy, and grace. They see the world from a place of scarcity and want. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In this uncertain time, decide who you want to be – and start living that way. Can you see more than the keyhole view of the future? Is now the time for radical change in your life? Will you do your civic and moral duty to simply stay home for a couple weeks? In the midst of all this, will you serve others? All it takes is a little imagination and a new, broader perspective.

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  1. Taylor

    I needed this reminder today, as I’m sure a ton of other people did. Thank you!

  2. Scott Mather

    Best 4-word summation as printed on the back of my Houston Krav Maga t-shirt that came out after Hurricane Harvey: Feed Courage/Starve Fear