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Why We Hide Behind Stepping Stones

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So many of us live “stepping stone” lives. We work on one goal, hoping that once it is complete, we will be able to pursue a new, higher goal. For example:

  • We are encouraged to do well in high school so that we can get into college.
  • We are encouraged to do well in college so that we can get into a better graduate program, or get a better job.
  • We work hard at our job to earn a promotion so we can get a raise.
  • We take on extra responsibility so we can impress our boss.

We’ve been taught that this is the way you get ahead without risk. One step at a time. If you take the right steps, you can get wherever you want to be. The problem with this method of thought is that it is completely focused on the future; something over which we have no control.

Let’s say that you were trying to reach a goal of retirement. That’s a pretty standard one these days. The conventional wisdom would say that you need to work, save and invest methodically over a period of many years so that you can amass a nest egg large enough to support your lifestyle and expenses once you stop working. Stepping stones.

Now, let’s say you follow these steps, then 30 days before you retire, there is a massive meltdown of our financial system or a crash in the stock, bond, or commodities market. You’ve been following these stepping stones across the river, then just before you’re about to set foot on the other shore, the shore disappears.

Did following the right steps get you where you wanted to go?

Our human nature is to try to find the easiest way to do things. We want to accomplish the things we desire with as little risk as possible. But there is also a fear of failing if we try to do everything that we want to do. If it doesn’t work out, you could lose money, pride, or friends.

So, instead of going for what we really want, we often choose to take the easy way out. Avoiding risk by pursuing something less than what we really want. We convince ourselves that this is just a stepping stone. Something we have to go through to get where we really want to be.

But is that the truth? Or are you protecting yourself from something?

It’s time to stop hiding behind these stepping stones. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do, just do it. Stop kidding yourself that there is a “perfect” way to do it, or even a “correct” way. There is only one way.

Do it.

You might have to adjust your lifestyle, make different choices, or change your priorities, but if you want to do something badly enough, these will be easy things to overcome.

So, unless your dream is to be a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA, or some other profession that requires you to take certain steps, stop pretending that you need to follow a path that someone else decided for you. Make the choice. Step out.

Have a joyful day!

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