Dueling Quotes: In the Face of Fear, Choose Responsibility & Hope
Is someone you care about frightened about the faltering economy? Perhaps they are unemployed or under-employed, have a family, and are desperately trying to find a job? Maybe they have a woefully inadequate retirement? Or possibly this describes you? A buddy of mine is in this situation and I have never known him to be as discouraged or frightened as he is right now.
Like many, many others, his industry has been hit hard by the economy, and on some level he knows it is only going to get worse. After several unsuccessful job interviews he feels confused and unsure about where to turn or what to do.
One of the most dangerous aspects of feeling this way is that once we enter that downward spiral it is much harder to pull ourselves out. Even worse, when something viable does come along we seem unable to recognize it; and even if we do think it might be a good opportunity, we may not have the wherewithal to take action and pursue it.
Quotes, proverbs and pithy sayings offer wisdom, perspective and guidance; and they can provide us with succinct insights into our experience, which can be comforting, motivating and enlightening. I love quotes and employ them regularly.
The challenge is to choose the kind of quotes that enable us to move forward, rather than to justify or rationalize our being stuck. I think the best quotes are those that enliven and edify us, and provide inspiration for our journey.
When we choose to take real responsibility for our choices, actions and decisions, we can no longer blame the economy or anyone else; but we also regain our own power, start to see what is not readily apparent, and begin to imagine what is possible even when others don’t. One way to achieve this is by becoming our own boss.
Being an entrepreneur has been referred to as a personal growth experience with a compensation plan attached. I absolutely love that! Starting a home-based business, while not for everyone, is a powerful way to take responsibility for ourselves and to take back our lives and our earning power.
The friend I mentioned referred to a famous quote recently. The kind of quote that I suspect gave him some ability to explain why his rough patch is continuing. It might even give him the sense that the situation he finds himself in has little to do with his actions and choices. Feeling like a victim of circumstance can provide a modicum of fleeting comfort; but it is also a quick and sure way to relinquish our power and allow ourselves to further decline.
The quote he referenced is by Alphonse Karr, “The more things change the more they are the same.” While there is wisdom in this saying, my heart is troubled that it is the one he chose to reference at this time, given what he is going through.
Karr's quote is too passive, it acknowledges the possibility of defeat, and in selecting it I believe my friend gives away his power. Perhaps my friend also hopes it lets him off the hook in terms of his own responsibility. We are all making choices all the time, and doing nothing in the face of frightening obstacles is also a choice.
The quote I want to offer in response to Karr's is one by Henry David Thoreau, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”
Thoreau's is the quote that I want my hurting, frightened friend to look to – for an explanation, for guidance, for comfort and for empowerment. This is the quote I want him to cling to and to memorize.
In the face of fear I want us always to overcome inaction with action, take responsibility and to choose hope.
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