Met a friend of mine a few days ago and we spent some time chatting with each other. He had done pretty well for himself, with a business going great guns.

“You know Bob,” he said, “I grew up in Ahmedabad and when I told my family I was going to Mumbai for a job, they nearly had a fit. They asked me whether I was insane, whether I knew what I was doing. “They told me how it was near impossible to get accommodation in Mumbai, how traveling was terrible with the heavy rush, and how lonely the city could be for outsiders!”

“But you went?” I asked.

“Oh yes, I did,” he said, “and do you know how long it took me to get a place to stay in the big bad city my friends had told me about?”

“Tell me,” I said with a smile.

“One day,” he said.

As I walked back home after that conversation I realized what my friend had overcome was the fear of the unknown. We prefer old, familiar places, even if they are dull and dreary. We prefer bad companions even if they aren’t a good influence in our lives, because we are scared to break away and taste what we don’t know.

An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door. As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?”

The spy hesitated for a long time. It was a difficult decision. He chose the firing squad.

Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aid and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice.”

The aide said, “What lies beyond the big door?”

“Freedom,” replied the general. “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it..!”

How foolish that the man faced a bullet rather than take a chance through the door!

Maybe that’s exactly what you and I are also doing. Glorious opportunities are waiting for us, if we take that adventurous step into the unknown. Dare you open the door and move on and up or will you always be terrified of the unknown and stagnate?

Think about it as we come to the close of this old year; stepping out into the unknown could change your life for the better..!

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