Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Last Thursday night, after turning in my rental car, I checked in for my flight home at the Reno airport. I watched other passengers drop their bags with a sign of resignation as they cued up to check in for departing flights. Reno, Nevada may be one of the best examples of our addiction to drama. As my friend Jack Boland used to say, “Planes take off lighter from Reno than they land.” The expanded use of lotteries throughout the United States is further evidence of our “need” to introduce some edge, some adventure, some excitement into our lives, find a way to somehow escape the ordinary, what for many may have become boring, humdrum lives. Fortyfour of our 52 states now have state lotteries. Think about the feeling you have when you place a bet. As Jack would say, “People don’t come to Reno to win; they come to Reno to lose.” Could this be true? What is that all about if not drama? Does this gamble give us a sense of being alive? Oh how we want, how we need, a sense of being alive. What a price to pay for this feeling! There must be a more productive way to get a sense of aliveness, there must be a positive way to get an adrenalin rush.
Conventional wisdom says the way to make life work is to settle in, secure of our futures, with a good job, family, friends, and a nice place to live. Once done, life can become boring. The next emotion below boredom is depression. The clue, the giveaway, is that once done, when we finished striving, stretching, growing, you can be sure life becomes boring – no “add” in the venture, we lose the adventure. Then we naturally start looking for an escape from our humdrum existence. Too often we settle for a
way out that will not require exercising the courage it takes to leave our comfort zone. We actually look for a way to add-venture without ever having to be courageous enough to leave the cozy little comfort zone. Thereau said, “Most people live lives of quiet desperation.” We look for the easy way out. Our pursuit can take us in many directions, living vicariously through the variety of reality television shows, sports teams and movie star magazines.
So what is the path to authentic add-venture? As simple as it may seem, the path is to honestly look for ways to face our fears, and then move beyond the comfort of our current definition of self.
That’s the challenge, so how do we motivate ourselves to courageously face our fears, move beyond our comfort zone? The best way to motivate ourselves is with a service-directed life, a life directed at being of service to others, a life aimed at making a positive contribution somehow in the lives of others. Doing this will enable you to do something that stretches you beyond your fears.
This starts by gaining greater clarity about what you believe in. When we know what we believe in, what our true values are, it is then easier to identify those things we can courageously give ourselves to. The paradox here is that as we give ourselves freely to something we believe in, we are then living a life of purpose. Your life moves past drama to a life of meaning. We win. We then move past the security of our comfort zone and gamble on taking the risk that adds ventures to our lives.