I recently stumbled upon a quote, “The greatest hurdle to fortune is the desire for safety.” This quote was brought to my attention as I was reading through a magazine. A big business tycoon was offering some of his insights as to why he thought he was so (monetarily) successful. I began to contemplate this thought. As I thought about it more, this quote really seemed to ring true.
After all, one major reason so many of us keep from pushing forward with a project or idea is fear; the squelching, suffocating feelings of fear that can consume us and can ultimately inhibit our progress down the path of success.
What type of fear is this? It is the type of fear that tends to arrive when you find yourself stepping outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you realize…hey, wow…what if I take this step, if I make a move in this direction? You immediately become aware that this safe-sense that you have in your person—your ego—could be compromised, assaulted, hurt, diminished, never to be repaired again. You could even be looked upon as a failure. For some reason, we think of "failure" as final.
This is a very fatalistic, do-and-die perspective. It is this notion that if something causes injury, it is permanent. If someone says something about you, you take it as a set-in-stone analysis or an irrevocable evaluation of who you are.
We all want to be safe in that we want the core of ourselves—our sense of self, our ego—to be protected from the scorn and derision of others. I guess the reason why we care to protect the central aspect of ourselves—our identity—is the same reason why we want to protect our physical body. We care about our (physical) survival. Our ego must care about its survival too.
Why people choose to pick on others or find ways to inflict mental pain on others is one question. The bigger question that I ponder is: why do we even care when someone picks at us or insults us? Why does it feel bad when a group of people that we interact with physically every day tends to ignore us? Why are these things psychically/mentally painful at all? Perhaps these experiences feel bad because the other individual's appraisal of us—our worth—is less than what we happen to think about ourselves. This grates against our ego and we feel pain. The pain is obviously not a physical pain as when one abrades the skin, it is more of an emotional pain.
It seems to me that there are only a few options that one can take to keeping our ego afloat midst the efforts of other egos who are only trying to bring us down.
1. Just say “Fuck You”. My life is already insanely short. I’m not going to let you ruin what little time I have to enjoy my life.
2. Surround yourself with people who are worth your time and who you can gain knowledge from.
For the millionth time, I’m not writing about any particular personal experience I've had. I was just letting my mind wander after reading a quote from a magazine.
I see that some of you have shared this! Thank you Lorne, John and several others of you! I really appreciate this!