A Life Driven By Fear

Unfortunately, I realize that I am driven by fear more than anything else.

I want to talk about fear.

Because, unfortunately, it has been the greatest motivator in my life. Not love, hope, greed, or joy. But fear.

My favorite quote about fear is from the classic science fiction book Dune, by Frank Herbert.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

– Paul Atreides, from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Hopefully none of us will face the same torturous life and death circumstance that made the main character Paul Atreides repeat that mantra to himself. But fear is a real obstacle to people living a fulfilling life.

In my meditation practice, I’ve learned to identify my most basic fears and try to develop strategies to overcome them. Still a work in progress!

For those who want to see the scene on YouTube from the 1980s cult classic movie Dune, here it is:

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My Own Why of FI: My Parents’ Twilight Years

I came back to New York City to take care of my parents in their twilight years.

One of the main reasons for my wife and I to return home to New York City was because of my parents. They were getting older and started to physically and mentally decline. As the youngest (and only) son , I was expected to be around to help them. And, eventually, take over their affairs.

But as much as I tried to get them to plan, my elderly parents simply refused to take action. And I don’t think this is unique to them.

So when the critical event does happen – a sudden medical emergency, such as a fall or a stroke – you are almost always scrambling to do damage control after the fact.

If I weren’t (almost) financially independent, I don’t know how I could possibly have managed things.

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Cancer, Death, and the Gift of Clarity

The prospect of our inevitable death should make us appreciate our life so much more.

The prospect of our inevitable death should make us appreciate our life so much more.We all think and act like we will live forever, or, at least until some far off, future date that we prefer not to think about.

This is very much how I thought of my time on this earth. As a child, I was obsessed with academic performance. And then for almost 20 years I was obsessed with my career and compensation. In the past few years, I’ve been obsessed with financial independence.

But this was always in the context of balancing an enjoyable and fulfilling life now with an even more enjoyable and more fulfilling life in the future.

What if that future turns out to be only 5 years later? or 2 years? or 1 year?

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Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #4

Can one really have friends for life, outside of spouses and family?

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplation and reflection on palliative nurse Bronnie Ware’s 2009 viral post in which she listed the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. These are my reflections.

I am chagrined to say that lifelong community is something which I only recently have started to long for.

#4 I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

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Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #3

Just writing this blog is an act of courage for me.

I’m writing a series related to palliative nurse Bronnie Ware’s 2009 viral post where she listed the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.

Fear is something that I’ve written about before, and this third most common regret is really a manifestation of fear.

#3 I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Continue reading “Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #3”

Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #2

Another long night at the office

Palliative nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a viral post back in 2009 where she listed the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. I’m doing a post series about my thoughts.

This post focuses on the second most common regret, a particularly common one amongst Type A personalities in ultra-competitive industries.

#2 I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

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Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #1 (Thank You Bronnie Ware)

Trying to stay away from an unsmiley-face life

One of the reasons why I’ve pursued FI is because I want to learn from and avoid the regrets of those who have gone before.

In her 2009 blogpost entitled Regrets of the Dying, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware outlined the top 5 regrets that people have as they lay on their deathbed.

I came across references to it in many books. Avoiding these regrets became one of my driving forces in pursuing FI.

This is a series on my thoughts and musings about each one.

#1 I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

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My Termination 3 Month Anniversary – Beyond Money…For Now

That feeling of peace, when you can say to yourself, “Hey, I got this.”

Something pretty unexpected happened during the third month of my unemployment. Amazingly, my anxieties and stress about money, which were always in the background ready to jump to the fore, faded to a quiet murmur. I started to become beyond money.

At least for now.

And when I say beyond money, I mean that money no longer engenders in me the negative emotions as it did in the past. Instead, it allows me to conceive and achieve my goals.

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