But I fear to step out. I fear to lose everything I have now, even though it could or could not turn out better.
How do I address this fear?” — Stevens
Dear Stevens, it’s absolutely great that you have full clarity of your purpose and goals. This clarity will take you a long way forward in time to come.
However, right now you have something that’s blocking you from your dreams. And that’s fear. While it’s possible there are several fears involved, such as fear of change, fear of loss, or fear of the unknown, what comes through most strongly is the fear of loss.
When there is a fear of loss, it signals an attachment to the item that is at risk of being lost. The fear of loss has caused many to freeze into a mode of inaction in their lives. People grow attached to the things in their lives. Things like their career, their status, their salary, their lifestyle, etc. To pursue something different would mean relinquishing all of these things they have come to associate as part of their lives. Because of this fear of loss, some people choose to put their dreams on hold — perpetually.
However, this attachment is illogical and comes as a byproduct of being too entrenched in our physical world.
The reason why it’s illogical is because everything in our lives, except our consciousness, is impermanent. This includes everything in the physical world: our wealth, our salary, our material possessions, our status, our careers, our property, and our physical bodies. We were born into this world as ourselves, with our consciousness. When we die, we will lose everything and bring with us only our consciousness.
[I have written about attachment before in the context of material possessions, which you can read here Materialism Breeds Unhappiness.]
The full understanding and realization of this fact can result in quite a powerful shift in our minds. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what we have in our life, as much as how we are living our life.
Instead of concerning ourselves with what we have, the important question to ask here is: Am I living my life to the fullest? Am I living my purpose, my passion, and my dreams? Am I living my life in the best manner possible? Am I living my life in a way that I will stand by even to the day I die?
When I first realized this a few years ago, it resulted in a total paradigm shift. I realized that all these things I was focusing on building in terms of career, wealth, possessions, status, etc. were meaningless. They formed a nice, candy fort that I could proudly exhibit and keep building on when I grow older, but for what — some 40, 50 years? That’s about it. After that, when I die, they would just crumble and disintegrate. These were not things I could take with me beyond death.
Realizing this drove me to pursue a life of higher purpose and meaning. When I decided to quit my job in 2008, I wasn’t concerned with the lucrative pay check I was relinquishing. I wasn’t thinking about the attractive career track I was giving up. I wasn’t thinking about all the material goods and wealth I could be accumulating by staying on.
All I was thinking was how I would be wasting my life away if I continued to do something that’s not my passion. All the time and energy wasted on acquiring different worldly possessions that were not going to last forever anyway. When I looked at my life in the broadest spectrum, beyond life and death, it was clear that I needed to pursue my passion full time. Everything else just didn’t matter at all.
The bottom line is this: If you are not living your passion, then you really have nothing to lose.
Since I started pursuing my purpose full time, life has been incredible. I’m serious. I’m living my best life ever, and I know that everything is going to be even better from hereon. And I’ve just scrapped the surface of what’s in store for me. There’s just SO much more just waiting to be uncovered that I can’t begin to imagine.
Think about the day when you die. Would you rather look back at having spent your life holding on to things which you can’t carry with you after death, or look back at how you have passionately and fervently lived out your dreams?
Start by releasing your attachment to the things in your life. That’s when you will start to make your best decisions for yourself and your life, devoid of ego and fear.
Check out my How To Pursue Your Passion series for more articles on pursuing your passion.