Fear of the unknown helped to keep our early ancestors alive, but these days, lions no longer pounce on us in the dark. But we still keep the fear.
Between 30,000 to 70,000 years ago, something major happened in the history of humankind. Nobody quite knows how and why it happened, but we began to develop the ability to think in depth and in breadth. Our linguistic skills developed from grunts to storytelling. It’s called the Cognitive Revolution.
With that shift, ‘modern’ human beings were able to rationalise the world around them, including fear. But sometimes, this sophisticated circuit is bypassed and we go back to the live-or-die mode of our lion-fearing ancestors, even when there is absolutely no reason to fear for our survival. A little bit of fear is good, but too much can tax your physiological systems as well as stop you achieving your dreams.
For a lot of men, survival is tied up with their jobs, however irrational it may be. There is a lot of social psychology behind this – status, self-worth, self-esteem – which has nothing whatsoever to to with actual survival. Thus, leaving an established career to venture into the unknown, even if it is to live one’s dream, is as scary as venturing into a jungle to face mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers.
A few nights ago, I met a German guy in his early forties. I found out he was an accountant and he worked for the Big Fours. Eegads. Then he surprised me completely when he told me about his career path. He took a year out to ‘take it easy’. He drove Uber taxi for a year. He rented out two bedrooms in his house. And then he knuckled down to build his consulting company from scratch. Old clients came to him and yes, he does earn enough. Well, he was on the end of his five-week holiday when we were introduced.
What impressed me was that he loved books and he loved quirky books. He picked up a book at the airport by a first-time author Francesca Haig and loved the book so much that he went round bookshops looking for Haig’s second book. Over dinner, he told me about the haggis animal with one leg shorter than the other to enable it to navigate the hills easily.
He, the German, had gone to Edinburgh University for a year as part of his Economics degree many years ago, and still has that light for Edinburgh in him. It was patently clear that he was a man living the life he chooses; he simply buzzes and that is ever so attractive. I derived a lot of energy and inspiration from our encounter. I think we need to come into contact with people like this person to give us the strength to continue or to start something new; hence, entrepreneur meet-ups are so very important (though I met my haggis man through a friend of a friend).
I have my wonderful partner to thank, of course, for keeping me strong and for keeping my path magical, because it’s always scary to take the off-beaten track to go for my dreams and achieve my full potential.
May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You Always ❤