Learning how to be successful in life is not simple. Being successful for most people is not a natural condition. Many things work against a person's success such as location, situation, luck, etc. However, one of the most powerful and often overlooked headwinds facing people in their search for success is fear. Let’s take a look at the Buddhist story about fear and how it affected a criminal's choice of execution.
Once there was a criminal who had committed a crime. His crime was serious enough to get him a death sentence. He was sent to the king for his punishment. The king looked at him and told him that he had two punishment choices. He was given a choice of being hanged to death or choosing whatever lies behind a mysterious, and evil-looking iron door. The criminal considered both options On one hand was clean and quick death by hanging. On the other hand was an ominous door, a portal to unknown agony. “Who knows what lies behind that dark and foreboding iron door,” he thought. His mind reeled through the negative possibilities and horrid outcomes. To him, it was obvious that being hung to death was a quick and familiar death. He knew what is coming. It was bad but he could manage to accept it. He could acquiesce to it because it was safe. With the noose around his neck, the criminal gave in to his mounting curiosity and inquired of the king about what was behind the door. The king laughed and told the doomed criminal that behind that grim, wretched door was freedom and that almost no one chose that door. “They all cower from the dark and unknown, passing up the opportunity to be free, to flourish, and to succeed,” said the king.
This story is an analogy about how to be successful in life and how fear of the unknown prevents people from finding, or even seeking that success. Not knowing what is ahead, not knowing where a path may lead, and ultimately not knowing the delightful possibilities that could exist allow a person to seek comfort in the known no matter how bad it is. There is a phrase for this,
"Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't."
Success is never a known quantity. But, to obtain the goal of abundance and accomplishment, you have to consciously and actively choose to walk the path of the unknown. You have to physically make yourself take that first step into the mysterious fog of uncertainty. By striding boldly forward, you can find new avenues of possibility. By risking the unknown travails of the future, you can find out that the shroud of uncertainty is but a thin curtain, and penetrating that veil rewards the intrepid person with growth and prosperity. Only by being brave can you become prosperous, and bring success to yourself, your family, and those around you.
By being bold, you not only increase your own personal progress, but you provide a positive effect for your community around you. In this aspect, bending to the fear of the foreign, the unexplored, or the unrecognized is a massive disservice to not only yourself but anyone else that you might relate to or with. How selfish then is fear of the unknown. How imprudent is it to give in to the comfortability of the here and now? Your choices today, to face the unknowable and to push past your limits will reward you and yours. You must find your own very personal leverage to break the momentum of your current situation.
So, make that move. It is exceedingly rare for that first step down that path to be easy. You have to look ahead with care and wonderment to watch what the world has to offer you. You have to accept that you will have to push past your discomfort. If you are brave enough to take that first step, to break the bonds of the familiar, you can find untold fortunes and happiness. And all it takes is one simple act of faith in yourself to make that possible. You must be wholly aware that you are strong enough to face the unknown obstacles to come.
You will often find then that the obstacles are not even there. They are only a figment of your fear. Never let your fear make your decisions. Never give in to doubt about facing the opacity of not knowing that which is to come.
Fortune favors the bold.