Failure. Surfer wiping out.

Failure

Failure is an option.

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

As we go through our lives, we each make decisions about what we are going to do – in our jobs and in our personal lives, the big things and the small things, the important and the trivial. Part of what goes into those decisions are the consequences if we fail.

If we think we might fail, we worry that we’ll waste our time, that we could get hurt or embarrassed, or that the consequences will be dire. We fear failure. We worry about failure. We try to avoid failure.

But if we only do things that guarantee success, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are not exploring our own personal boundaries. We are not testing ourselves. We’ll never find out what we’re made of.

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Obstacles. Amazing Maze.

Obstacles

What is stopping you from living a great life?

Is it something that can be overcome? Is it a legitimate excuse? Is it real, or is it something you use to rationalize your limitations?

All of us have obstacles. Sometimes we acknowledge them. Sometimes we address them. Sometimes we overcome them.

However, sometimes we incorporate them into our lives.

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Trust. Three rock climbers helping one from falling.

Trust

How many people in the world do you trust completely?

People you trust not to lie to you, cheat you, or steal from you—this is garden-variety trust.

How many people do you trust enough for you to share who you really are? How many people do you know in your heart have your back? How many people could you trust with your life?

Try to list those people.

For many of us, the number of people like that in our lives can be counted on one hand, and the truth is we are lucky if we have one or two. But before we start weeping silently into our oatmeal, let’s think about the dynamics of what it takes to be trustworthy.

Each of us has to trust ourselves first. If we don’t, we lack the fundamental basis for trust. We have to trust ourselves that we will act in our own best interest. We have to trust that we will create a life for ourselves that we can use as a foundation to do great things. We have to trust that we will give ourselves a stable emotional base.

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Ticket. A Woman holding her passport and ticket while standing in an airport.

Ticket

For me, one of the most interesting times in life is buying a plane ticket. Seems pretty straightforward, but to me that’s an exciting moment—one filled with the promise of adventure.

When buying plane tickets, many people buy the nonrefundable kind because they’re cheaper. When we click that button, we’re making a commitment to the trip and all it entails. We’re taking a leap of faith. We have faith that our seat will be there, that the plane will get us where we’re going, that the 1,001 arrangements we made will pan out. Maybe it’s commitment to having a good time or to achieving a goal.

In all of our lives, we don’t personally handle all the details. In the simplest transactions, we take many things on faith. When we do something as basic as buying milk, we assume that it was properly handled, that it was processed correctly, that the date stamp is right. We don’t check each of these things. We are making a leap of faith, and we are leaping every day.

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Fear. Man peering through blinds.

Fear

Have you ever been afraid – I mean, really afraid? How did you handle it?

There are all kinds of fear: fear of physical danger, fear of the unknown, fear of the dark.

There’s nothing wrong with fear. It’s an emotion that keeps us safe from threats and is a built-in survival mechanism that all humans need; but the extent to which fear controls our actions is worth considering. We can handle, lessen, or remove fear through our experiences and through personal growth.

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