Since the beginning of time, the most powerful messages have been shared by stories. There is a great book I have been reading called Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron, a Tibetan Buddhist monk. I love this story she shared called The Frog and The Well:
One day, a frog who had lived his whole life in a well received a visit from a frog who lived by the ocean. When the well frog asked how big the ocean was, the visitor said, “It’s gigantic.” “You mean about one-fourth the size of the well?” the well frog asked. “Much bigger” was the answer. “You mean it’s as big as my well?” asked the well frog incredulously. “Far bigger. There’s no comparison,” said the frog from the sea. “That’s impossible. I don’t believe you,” said the well frog. So they set off together to see. And when the well frog saw the vastness of the ocean, it was such a shock that his mind couldn’t comprehend it, and he died on the spot.
Many of us feel like the well frog at the thought of facing certain challenges in our lives. We think that quitting a job we don’t like, moving to another country, ending a relationship we are certain is not right for us, or climbing large mountains – physically and metaphorically- are going to kill us. Sometimes the vastness of what we perceive to be outside our well is enough to paralyze us to inaction.
People can be very comfortable in a “well.” People can live a nice life with a secure job and convenient location to set down roots. Many people live their whole lives never testing the unknown; never chasing their dreams; never expanding their consciousness and comfort zones.
I was like that for a long time. I always went for what was safe, rather than what was exciting. I chose comfort over experience. I chose what would make me look good, rather than what would expand me.
I remember taking my first trip to Europe to backpack Iceland, backpacking 9 countries in one month, a 10 day trip to Israel, and a 2 month internship in China. I capped it off with deciding to move my life to the other side of the world to live in Singapore. Then I created a platform to share my life and lessons learned in an effort to transform others.
Every one of those choices were scary as hell. They were also extraordinarily exciting. No great things have come in my life without making big decisions and taking big risks followed by a commitment to grow no matter what happened.
If you’re looking for the easy way out, you are looking in the wrong place.
Dr. Matt Westheimer