Thursday, November 13, 2008

How One Responds To Fear

I have been trying to think with both my head and my heart when evaluating what direction my life should take after I am done with my corporate life. Today I attended a workshop for starting a small business, not that I have any immediate plans to do that, but I was interested to learn about the tax structure and other requirements for a small business and any other tips I can glean.

At the end of the workshop, I think I came away with the same feelings I had gone in with, starting a small business is an onerous decision. However, selling one's labour and skills through a small business may not be as risky as selling products through a small business. In fact the business coach confirmed that we should be retailing services and not products.

I came away still thinking that leaving the safety of the corporate job and the financial security and taking the leap into the unknown is an emotional decision because one's rational mind will tell you that there is relative safety and security in doing a corporate job that one is familiar with. However, I say "relative" because in today's world and corporate environment, what sort of security are we talking about? Like my career coach says, it is just an illusion of security, and when faced with a choice between freedom and security, one should choose freedom because the security is not real.

Robert Taylor, an instructor at Trapeze School New York, heads for the nets on the roof of Pier 40.

So with all these thoughts and words of wisdom, I did some research online. The results were very interesting. On Security vs Freedom, Robert Kiyosaki (of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" fame) says, "In fact, in many ways, freedom and security are exact opposites. The people who have the most security are people in prison. Prisoners have the least freedom and the highest security. People in prison do not need to provide housing, food, recreation, health care, or education for themselves. They have a lot of security but at the price of their freedom."

Prisoners! They have the highest security... how true. As corporate prisoners, we are enslaved to our jobs and work routines, but we don't even "enjoy" this "highest security" that the criminally incarcerated have. I suppose corporate prisoners make more than $1.50 an hour that the prisoners make in the prison laundry, so that more than makes up for the lack of security.

Now back to the head vs heart. Back up a couple of paragraphs. I had been thinking that to stay in the relative security of the corporate world is a rational one, while leaving is an emotional one. Kiyosaki explains that one had to be in control of one's emotions and to think rationally. Ok I got that, and I agree with that, hence I think staying is rational, leaving is emotional. It seems that I've got the wrong end of the stick. Kiyosaki's theory is that "When it comes to money, it is the emotion of fear that keeps most people poor. Most people live in fear of losing money or risking money so they say things like 'play it safe’ or 'don't take risks.'" And that is the primary difference between successful people and unsuccessful people, how they respond to fear.

If I pick the relative security of the familiar corporate world because of fear, then I am making an emotional decision. Hmm, that turns my entire thinking on its head, doesn't it?

I guess I still have to do a bit more thinking, but to think from a slightly different angle, a fresh perspective, out of the box?

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