Only Those Who Dare... Truly Live

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Who wants to live without dreams or to live a mediocre life? What boy ever grew up wishing one day to possess an economy car? When I was still a little boy, my closet was full of toy cars and I can especially remember having a pearl white Mustang Cabriolet, a royal blue Rolls Royce Silver Phantom and red Ferrari 250 GTO. What inspired me then was the designers' audacity to turn their dreams into something unique and truly beautiful in the world.

Courage is one of the three "Meanings of Life," the other two being Accomplishment and Love. However, all three are really interconnected since without courage, one cannot protect love and accomplish great things. Without love, accomplishment and courage are self-serving and without accomplishment, one is merely marking time, taking up precious space and resources from Mother Earth.

When listening to people who are facing death, they often say they wish they had possessed the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them. They wish they hadn't worked so hard, that they had expressed true feelings, stayed in touch with friends and had let themselves be happier in the moment. How little courage would it have taken to live a life so much fuller and richer and why is courage so difficult to muster for even seemingly trivial things such as these?

Human studies tell us that it is much easier to list the things we dislike than the things we like, thus most of us invest a lot of time in complaining. We take on others values, beliefs and visions, without examination, thus treating ourselves as a franchise rather than as a personal business. Finally, we also tend to be slightly "off" in judging risks, which then leads us down the path to sub-optimal lives.

The fathers of Behavioral Economics and Prospect Theory, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, discovered a curious bias in how we humans see gains and losses. When faced with a potential gain, we are unwilling to take equivalent risk (we become risk-averse), however when faced with potential loss we are willing to take on extra risk to avoid the loss (we become risk-seeking). Of course, staying risk-neutral in both of these situations would have insured a much better position for our life.

People who can keep a cool head and do not subject themselves to these inherent risk-perception-flaws are far better off in the long run. They are the ones who allow themselves to drive their dream car instead of the economy car prescribed for them. This construct also holds true for inner peace, relationships, experiences, etc.

It is not as if one needs to be a Rambo-like figure who goes head on into fierce battle (which would, in fact, actually be extreme risk-seeking). One need only to stop, look and choose one's risk-taking slightly more wisely in each precious moment of their day in order to end up with the fulfillment of the red Ferrari or whatever other dream that is held close in their heart. As Voltaire so wisely reminds us "They only live who dare!"