As I think about my current life and the trajectories it could go, I need to keep reminding myself of something.
My realistic worst-case scenario is actually pretty good.
Sure, there are some very ugly paths that could happen. For example, I could still end up as a substance abuser and homeless. But at this point, the odds of that happening are very low. Allowing my life to go in that direction is so antithetical to my core identity.
Assuming I follow my principles and don’t commit any crimes, my realistic worst-case scenario is effectively what I have in the present.
This is not to say I’m living out my worst-case scenario. I actually have a great life and it’s still trending in the right direction. My realistic worst-case scenario is that I maintain my current status quo for the rest of my life. As an ambitious person, this is not appealing to me, but in reality, it is a pretty good outcome. I know that many people aspire to work in my field.
To challenge this assumption, assume I am fired or fail with some endeavor. I have fallbacks; I can write code and I can sell things. I can get a job doing either or both of those skills. At the very least, I could end up doing exactly what I do now.
For comparison, when Staffjoy fell apart, the world didn’t end for me. I briefly thought it was going to, but it didn’t. I already knew how to code, and thankfully that’s the most employable skill. I was able to turn down job offers to pursue an outlet I wanted.
So if I take another leap and miss, what happens? It’s scary to think about doing that again, but I know I can survive it. There will be short-term consequences, but nothing serious in the long-term.
Realizing this, taking a leap doesn’t seem so scary. There could be a great reward on the other side, but I should be ok with missing. If I miss the ledge, there’s a net to catch me and a ladder to take me back to my starting ledge. Worst-case scenario, I end up exactly where I’m at today.
The scarier thought is, what if I’m too scared to ever jump?