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Your Biggest Fear Can Drive Your Success.


Often, I reflect on my past really as a way to understand how I arrived where I am.

I have always been hyper curious about what shapes peoples lives and decisions. As a young man I was very much into sales.

The excitement of closing the deal really attracted me, At the time I even earned the honors of highest grossing sales person 2 years in a row.

I eventually left the sales game but my curiosity about people and the lessons I learned have remained with me.

Once at a convention, I believe it was Anthony Robbins, I heard that people were motivated by fear more than pleasure.

I have found that to be generally true.

While in the Army, one of the schools I attended was S.E.R.E school. S.E.R.E stands for Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape. Depending on the unit you are in there are a few levels you attend. Level C is made up of people who stand a significant risk to being captured,

Without going into details is fair to say it is challenging. During the training I had one major take away that has stayed with me my whole life. It sucks to be held hostage!

From the moment I completed training I made a commitment that I would avoid at all costs being captured and/or held hostage.

This profound concept has in fact guided most major life decisions I have made.

· Don’t break the law.

It seems simple enough and of course my moral compass helps however, the real reason is this is the ultimate loss of freedom. I cannot imagine being locked up or confined. I am pretty sure it would drive me mad.

· Marry well.

This is probably one of the biggest life decisions. Make the wrong choice and let’s just say “life becomes harder than it needs to be”. Luckily and with a monumental amount of self-reflection I married well.

· Debt is its own prison.

This is really the one idea that I want to focus on and possibly the best piece of advice I can ever give. Debt hangs on you like an albatross. It forces you to remain in jobs you may not like. It forces you to make decisions based on fear. It sucks the joy out of life.

Imagine the power you would have if at any moment you were free to stand up at work and say, “I’m out”. In my mind this ability makes you a far better employee. Every day I wake up and go to the office I do so knowing I am doing it because I want to. Imagine how much more fun and productive your day would be if you were at a job out of choice rather than because you need to pay bills. Imagine if you were able to participate freely without hesitation openly expressing your ideas. How much more valuable as an employee would you be?

For me this all stems from my fear of being held hostage. It drives me to ensure I am always in a place where I choose to be. Sure, it prevents me from being able to complain about my job, my life, and my situation but, that’s a small price to pay for freedom.

James Cranford

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