When I was younger people older than me would talk about how they “remembered when they were in college” and “had all these big ideas and dreams” but then reality sets in and the demands of raising families and owning homes set it, turning those desires into memories. I never believed them. For some reason, I thought that if you had passion… if your heart was consumed by a particular dream… that it would last. I refused to believe that “idealism” was merely a phase that people went through…that its only for people who have yet to reach maturity.

Time sometimes seems to have a tendency of eroding passion. Dreams seem further and further away than they used to be. Choices you’ve made leave you with responsibilities and demands that you never anticipated, and the world around you affirms the secure and serene path that you are walking.

In the moment of this realization… that your life isn’t quite what you expected it to be in college, that the life you’ve always wanted and the one you used to dream about seems distant, you realize the value of courage more than ever before. You realize that unless you have courage, you’ll become a product of your culture and environment:

The courage to say what needs to be said.
The courage to sell what needs to be sold.
The courage to quit what you need to quit.
The courage to persevere in the things that you need to persevere.
The courage to abandon small passions for big ones.
The courage to trade success for sacrifice and purpose.
The courage to be vulnerable to people around you… to take risks in relationships… to know and be known.

Mediocrity requires no risk and no courage. It’s the default setting of most people. But it might also come at the greatest cost to your soul.

Fear closes in. Few face it. The rest become its slaves by “playing it safe.”

God, help me.

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