Are You Choosing Out Of Fear Disguised As Practicality?

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Thought Piece Series | 0 comments

There’s a quote from Jim Carrey that changed my life.
First he said:

“All that there will ever be is what is happening here.
The decisions we make in this moment, which are based in love or fear”.

This makes a lot of sense, right? All our decisions are either based in love or fear. So to make conscious choices and to feel good about our decisions, we just need to ask ourselves “am I choosing out of love, or out of fear?”

It’s this second bit he said that was the kick up the butt that changed my life:

“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.”

Ooof. That’s just a killer statement for us rational, logical thinking people, who have made a list of pros and cons for everything we ever wanted to do, and then rationalise everything back down to the safe choice.

The safe choice for a lot of managers and leaders right now is:
Figure it out myself. Watch a TED Talk. Read a book. Do an online course where I get to watch a TED Talk, read a book, figure it out myself.

Recognise this?

I do. Practicality is one of the favourite disguises of my inner critic. It’s tricksy. It sounds so reasonable and logical, and before you know it, you’re back inside your comfort zone, congratulating yourself for being smart.

Choices made out of practicality…. feel ok at the time but leave us with a sense of disappointment and “well f*ck, I shouldn’t have done that”.


Yet choosing out of love has always taken me on an adventure I could never have imagined. You’ve done that too, right? Made a choice out of love and had an amazing adventure?

And they followed a pattern:

  1. Choose out of love
  2. Be happy
  3. Freak the f*ck out i.e. hold my head and silently scream “oh my god what did I just do? How can I undo this? I don’t want to undo this. Am I going to die?
  4. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
  5. Try not to hyperventilate
  6. Give myself a pep talk “it’s ok, it’s gonna be ok. You chose this out of love, it’s a good decision”.
  7. Carry on

Here’s the first time it happened to me: getting on a plane in London to go to Amsterdam to meet my husband for the first time (we were thinking about dating so I thought I better go meet him).

Steps 3 to 6 happened at the gate, just before I had to board the plane to Amsterdam. But I believed in him, and I believed in finding out, so I got on the plane.
Spoiler Alert: it turned out fine. We’ve been married 16 years and have 2 kids. AND we still like each other.

It happened again when I took myself really seriously in my business and invested in working with a strategist so I could take my business to a new level of sustainability and impact. That time, steps 3-6 lasted two days. (I was investing in ME so I had a WHOLE bunch of critics having a freak out).

If all our decisions are either made out of love or fear, then it’s simple.
If we want to be making conscious choices in our lives, and feel good about our decisions, then we need to choose out of love.

Just expect the freak-out; it’s going to happen. And it will pass.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” – Nelson Mandela

This is part of my Thought Piece Series where I explore topics related to leadership and provide both answers and questions. My intention is to start meaningful conversations that help us move forward. Want to connect? Click here

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