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Adaptive Freedom and the power of living authentically requires becoming better at managing change. The 6th Pillar of the Freedom Code – Become Adaptable - deals a lot with this idea. As we embrace change and start living more on the edge of life we begin to perform better. So thinks the psychologist Tony Bates. In a moving article on depression in The Irish Times he writes “Staying within your comfort zone is safe, but it can lack vitality. Moving towards the edge of the unknown, that’s where we become creative. Those edges bring out in us our resilience. Until we have our hand near the fire, we don’t learn how to manage fire, even though we can write books about it forever.”
The call to authentic living is a challenging one because it essentially means to believe in yourself and you may find this too risky. It may be easier and safer to be like others—part of the crowd, or to be what others have consistently told you that you are, to conform to the “you” that gets the approval you crave.
To answer the call of authentic living is risky because it means stepping out, standing up, and saying no, when most of your life up to this point may have involved stepping aside, standing down, and saying yes even when your inner spirit wanted to do otherwise. You may have become conditioned to stay quiet rather than speak out through the harsh lessons life has taught you. Nothing ventured nothing lost! It may appear that the safest thing is not to venture beyond the comfort zone you have created for yourself.
We find it easy to deceive ourselves. Despite its obvious shortcomings we are good at convincing ourselves that our life is fine, that we are living to the limits of our potential and see no need for change. But perhaps we haven’t counted those little bits of passion, intensity of feeling or flights of fancy that we have lost along the way. We may be secure, settled, sincere, satisfied and that may amount to a sense of a fulfilled life (in which case it is authentic) or it may amount to a barely perceptible sense of loss, unease, anguish or anxiety (in which case it is a stagnant life).
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