Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Life in Full Colour


In the process of doing renovations to my house I repainted the master bedroom three times; three different shades of dark green.  Three days in a row.  Yes, it would have been easier to just make peace.  Or to paint it cream.  But my head would never allow that. 
And so instead of buying paint in one colour and painting the whole house, I try different colours and when say colour, I mean colour.  Colour like red, dark purple, golden yellows and green, not pale sand, light yellow, beige or cream.  I like to push the bounds a little and see what I can make work.  Yes, and change them regularly too.    

My friend still laughs and comments on how I painted my bedroom the ‘same colour’ three times.  And I suppose that is one side of the story, but definitely not the change addict’s perspective.  Those were very different colours. 

Were they green?   You’re thinking.
‘Yes’. 
Were they dark green? You’re thinking.  
‘Yes’.
  
Conclusion: ‘the same colour.’
 
‘NO!’ 

The other side of the story, my version, is that I needed to be able to walk into the room and appreciate the colour on the wall and I am very visual.  So anything that disturbs the eye, my brain is very quick to pick up on.     
Sometimes, I wonder if the tendency toward a neutral palette in d├ęcor is simply a result of the fear of ‘getting the colour wrong’ and having to redo it? 

And so my question is: Have you ever noticed just how many decisions we make are based on fear? 
We won’t speak up at work, lest we lose our jobs. 
We won’t go out at night lest we be attacked.
We won’t say no to someone afraid they won’t like us as a result.
We won’t change something because better the devil we know than the devil we don’t. 
We won’t try something new because we are afraid we might fail.
We won’t end a relationship...

The list goes on. 

The funny thing about fear is that it usually ends up creating exactly what we are afraid of.

We won’t speak up at work, lest we lose our jobs.  Silence creates an environment where injustice prospers which results in loss of productivity, economic recession and corruption, which are the main contributors to job losses.
Besides I tried it.  It’s true (was constructively dismissed).  But even that is not the end of God’s story for your life.     

We won’t go out at night lest we be attacked.  The less law abiding people on the streets creates an environment in which crime prospers and increases everyone’s chances of that being true.

How about making changes to your capabilities to defend yourself to manage your fear.  Besides, count the number of times you have made it safely home.  So how much of the fear is real, and how much of the fear is only in your mind?  The fear of fear?             
We won’t say no to someone afraid they won’t like us as a result.  Not saying ‘no’ to someone means you end up compromising yourself and so you lose your self-respect.  When you don’t respect yourself, others lose their respect for you too.

And so some of them won’t like you.  But what makes them so special that you need them to like you anyway?  When a life makes an impact, you will collect more enemies than alliances. 
We won’t change something because better the devil we know than the devil we don’t.  End result; still left with the devil. And the devil never makes peace.   

So why do you assume that there are only devils out there available to you?       
We won’t try something new because we are afraid we might fail.  Not trying something new also means you won’t succeed at it either. 

Let failure be an experience that is a result of something / circumstances other than you.  If it’s not you sabotaging your own future, failure can only be a process that teaches you something you must know if you are going to succeed.   
We won’t end the relationship for fear of... being alone, being hurt, being independent... to name but a few of the fears plaguing relationships. 

Relationships simply need to be worth holding on too.  When they depreciate your value as a human being, it’s time to change them or let them go.  When we hold on to relationships too tightly, we end up losing ourselves.    
So as far as I can see, decisions based on fear tend to be the wrong ones. And a life of colour requires a splash of courage.   

Mark Twain (paraphrased) once said: Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the decision to do something despite it.
If it’s any consolation, this is also my internal pep talk! I have a few big decisions to make.   

One thing is certain, fear has never changed anything.