What Would You Do If You Had Nothing To Lose?
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What Would You Do If You Had Nothing To Lose?

Everyone has a dream. Are you bold enough to fight for it?

What Would You Do If You Had Nothing To Lose?

Picture a fish. He’s trapped in a bowl, and on his first day of the encampment, he tries to get out by swimming outward countless times, each time met with the same invisible wall. He tried swimming quickly at the wall. Beating it down with his fins. He tried tricking the wall into thinking he was going one way and then switching directions suddenly and going the other! He even tried going underneath, but still, there was no way through. So eventually, after weeks of being in this bowl, the fish stops trying. It begins swimming in circles, back and forth, making its bed in the pebbles, playing around the different structures. It gets accustomed to this life. Eventually, other fish get dropped in with him. They go through the same cycle. They become friends, sometimes, through this shared experience of living trapped inside the bowl. The fish used to have dreams of living outside, swimming in the ocean, going whichever direction they choose for miles. Nothing holding them down. They used to dream this every night, but as time went on, they started to believe it less and less, and accept their circumstance...

There was one way out that this fish didn't try though. He thought about it, but he never did. If the fish swam up quick enough, he could jump above the water and see a small hole up top. If he could get out there, he could escape. The only problem was he couldn't see if outside the bowl was water or not. All the fish knew is that one time, minutes before he was placed in the water, he could not breathe. He knew that escaping that way was too risky. So he didn’t do it.

One day one of the fish’s friends tried to jump out this same way at the top. After trying non-stop all day, he made it. But the moment, he made it out, he began to suffocate, flapping all over the brown, smooth surface before finally laying flat, and not breathing again. Since this, all other fish were afraid to try and dismissed this way as helpless.

Even though the primary fish was placed in the bowl first, he still outlived the rest of the fish. He had many friends, but one day the last of them passed away. For a while, the fish kept on living like normal. Swimming about the bowl, cleaning the pebbles from time to time, playing hide and seek with himself, and lots of sleeping. This fish simply began to get bored. The fish didn’t see this as that much of a problem though because at least he could live there. When he first arrived in the bowl, he could not stand it! The way the water would get murky and green when no one took care of it. The simple fact that he was restricted in all that he could do. That he didn’t have the choice to live in the ocean. The stupid invisible walls, and the utter, painful solitude. But this bowl is real, in our lives.

Some of us choose to live in this bowl so we can get by, for money and security. Say the fish got the choice to live in the fishbowl for four to five days a week, and on weekends, he got to relax in a luxurious aquarium. Sounds nice, doesn't it? The fish would do this all his life, but still, the majority of this fish’s life would be spent spending his time and energy, so he could be more comfortable in the time remaining. And sometimes that remaining time would be stifled with stress acquired during the days in the fishbowl. Why? Why do we do what we hate doing to do what we love? Why do we still tell ourselves that, even when we never get to the part of actually doing the thing we love.

It’s a rat race, or a fishbowl rather.

Let’s get back to the fish story. So the fish wakes up one morning, and he tries to do the things he usually does, but they’re just not the same. The pebbles have already been cleaned a thousand times. What’s the use of doing it again? All of his friends are gone, so there is no one there to share anything with. So the fish decides to simply lay down, and as he’s laying down, he opens his eyes to see the bubble of his breath reach the surface. He looks out of the bowl wall to where his old friend had escaped before meeting his demise, and he only thinks one thing.

He has to try.

He knows there may not be any water close by, but there could also be an ocean feet away that he cannot see. So he gets up and decides he has to do it, simply because now one thing has changed. Only, in reality, it never has. The fish starts to believe that now he has nothing to lose when in reality, he had nothing to lose to start with. So the fish jumps out of the bowl, flaps on down, almost stops breathing indefinitely, but he makes it out the window, to the ocean. And he lives a long happier life for two full days.

The fish could’ve jumped out at any moment in his fish bowl residency, but the more he waited, the more he convinced himself that this was just the way things were. That nothing could be changed, no one could live outside the bowl, and with each day he convinced himself how much more he had to lose, as the fish bowl and its inhabitants grew as a source for his comfort.

When we start looking at certain things in life as a means to an end, they can very quickly turn into a means to the exact same means, repeating the cycle until our lungs stop and someone else takes our place. But that isn’t life. If you were happier before, then why let yourself be unhappier now, just because it’s part of “growing up,” it’s what's here, and it’s what you know? If you haven't been happy yet and you feel like there’s just something that’s off, then sometime in the future you will look back and say, I can't believe I let myself be less happy than I am now.

You don't have to wait until you’re the only one left to lose to leave the bowl. Believe me when I say there is a way to do the meaningful thing that you have a passion for.

You just can’t give up on it. You can’t look around and look at these glass walls and just think, this is where I am! This is where I’ll always be! You are more than that! You are more than the bowl that life says you are, you are more than the pebbles that you clean to make a living, you are more than the stuff you have, the place you sleep and the way you feel when you feel far less than worth it. You are more whether or not you choose to believe it.

So please, I beg of you, get on up, dust off the time that’s gone, and make the jump, and watch others behind you be inspired and follow in your footsteps. The ocean is there whether or not you go to it, but it is there. And it has room for everyone and all your kids and lifelong friends and teammates. The ocean is not a place to be scared of even when it’s dark and vast and mysterious and full of sharks and tsunamis. It’s life! It’s real life! What you should really be afraid of, is to live a life in a place where you are not as happy as you could be.

So if you know that you can be happier. All you have to do is look up, and jump. The ones that really care will come along with you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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