The man who never took the leap: A story we can all relate to

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There once was a man who never took the leap.

He almost did though. Once. When the perfect opportunity presented itself.

He was 26. He had an inkling of what really interested him. He had a little bit of money saved up — not much, but enough. His friends were encouraging, wanting to live vicariously through him. “You should! You should take the leap!”

There was just one problem.

He wasn’t quite sure.

The leap didn’t promise him any money, unlike his job which promised him a steady paycheck every two weeks. And the leap didn’t give him benefits, or a 401k plan with a nice matching program. And the leap made some people in his life uncomfortable. He was only 26! What if he failed? What would his parents think?

For weeks, he went back and forth, back and forth — leap, or don’t leap.

Leap, or don’t leap.

One day, he decided he was going to come up with an answer, once and for all. He pulled out a blank notebook, and on the left-hand side he wrote, “The life I’m living,” and on the right-hand side he wrote, “The life I want to live.”

And he filled both pages!

On the left-hand side he wrote down the comforts of his job. He enjoyed what he was doing, for the most part. He liked the people he was doing it with. He was financially stable. He didn’t have too much to lose. He saw his life moving in a pretty good direction, and all of that made him feel safe and secure.

But on the right-hand side, dreams overflowed! He wanted to take the leap! He wanted to know what it felt like to be his own boss, and to have total freedom over how he spent each and every day. He wanted to try things without having to ask for permission. He wanted to travel, and he wanted to collaborate with new types of people, and he wanted to see if some of these projects he had been working on could really become something meaningful. He wanted to invest all of his time and energy into making this dream come true.

When he finally finished writing, he put his pen down and looked at the two sheets of paper.

The left promised safety. It promised security. And it was known. He could see the day to day, more clearly than ever.

The right, however, promised the most amazing life — at a risk. It promised nothing. It was entirely unknown. And it was almost impossible to see what that day to day would truly be like, unless he made the leap.

You need to decide which side of the notebook you’re going to live by.

As you hear this story, where do you fall?

Are you going to stay to the left?

Or are you going to go right and take the leap?

Many years from now, what will you think of today?

Will you have wished you had taken the leap?

This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine.