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Turn towards expansion, not away from fear.

We make tens of thousands of decisions every day.

What should I eat for breakfast? Will I work out today? How do I greet my colleagues in the morning? Do I put up my hand to participate in that new project at work? Do I go the extra mile for a client today? How should I respond to someone in traffic who cuts me off? Do I give my kids my full attention when I get home? These are conscious decisions, and we're literally making thousands of them every day.

One of the oldest questions posed by humanity is the degree to which the events in our lives are preordained (destiny) versus the degree to which we have the agency to make choices (free will). For argument's sake - let's say free will accounts for 50% of where we find ourselves today. In other words, 50% of our present life state is the sum of the millions of daily decisions (both big and small) that we've made so far in our lives. Even at 50%, that's a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, and is accompanied by a strong sense of accountability for where we find ourselves right now - be it good, bad or anywhere in between.

If we're making thousands of decisions every day, and the cumulative impact of these decisions has a major bearing on our quality life right now, then one of the questions we might ask ourselves is, "what drives my decision making?"

There are many inputs to how we make decisions, but here's the one I believe we need to pay the most attention to:

In this decision, are you turning away from fear, or are you turning towards expansion?

When I'm sick and tired of my current job, but I choose not to apply for a new job because I'm scared of being rejected, that's me turning away from fear.

When I choose not to call a client because I know they are angry and I don't want to experience the discomfort of the call, that's me turning away from fear.

When I choose not to apologise to a friend even though I know I've done badly, that's me turning away from the fear of my fallible and imperfect nature, and the desire not to feel this.

By contrast:

When I choose to take the plunge and apply for the new job, even though I know I might be rejected, that's me turning towards expansion.

When I choose to call a client even though I know they are angry, that's me running towards expansion. That's the choice to see the conflict in the call as an opportunity to own the things we could have done better, and the opportunity to transcend my need to be liked by everyone.

When I choose to apologise to my friend, and admit that I messed up and will do better next time, that's me turning towards expansion.

Turning away from fear is like being hunted by a wild animal. We fear the wild animal, so we turn away from it. The wild animal defines us because they are in control, they are the hunter, and there is no real safety from them. We might have moments of respite, but in our weaker or vulnerable moments, they always catch us.

By contrast, when we turn towards expansion, we turn towards the wild animal and look them directly in the eye, regardless of our fear. We are no longer the hunted, but the hunter. As the hunter, step by step we can more confidently navigate the land around us and expand.

Is there risk in being the hunter? Absolutely, but it pales by comparison to being the hunted, most especially when we're being hunted by our own psyche.


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