Just take me back to prison

The comfort of familiarity may be keeping you from new and brighter opportunities.

Yesterday morning Joanne and I saw two peacocks wandering around my office.  Knowing my neighbor had a couple such creatures I called him to see if they were missing.  He and his wife came over immediately and we all spent most of an hour chasing them – tearing up legs and arms in the process of pushing through brush with little to show for our efforts.  Last night he texted me that both peacocks had jumped the fence to get back in their pen and were eating and resting comfortably.

Charles Dickens wrote about a man who had been in prison for many years.  Obviously this man longed for freedom from his dungeon of despair and hopelessness.  Finally, the day of his liberation arrived.  He was led from his gloomy cell into the bright and beautiful and free world.  He momentarily gazed into the sunlight, then turned and walked back to his cell.  He had become so comfortable with confinement that the thought of freedom was overwhelming.  For him, the chains and darkness were a predictable security.

For many people change is frightening.  The sameness and predictability of what we have may be more comfortable than the uncertainty of change.  Day after day I hear stories from clients about the feeling of being trapped in their jobs and lives.  And yet, the comfort of at least knowing what is coming each day appears to be more attractive than the uncertainty of initiating change.

Many people have the “dream” of having their own business.  I hear stories about people who  purchased a business opportunity, got into a Multi-Level Marketing program, or opened their own antique shop.  Six months later they are begging to get their old job back.  The challenges of being more independent, having to make decisions about inventory, managing employees, and dealing with new tax reporting forms have caused them to long for the old days – back in Egypt.

Remember those people?  When the children of Israel left Egypt they were headed for the Promised Land.  But a few days of passing through the desert (a necessary passage to the Promised Land) left them whining to go back to the familiar misery of slavery under the Pharaoh.  Yet going through “the desert” is an integral part of getting to any Promised Land.  Most business people go through 3-4 ideas and “failures” before they reach extraordinary success.


The first step in creating positive change is to identify what you want.  What would the ideal job be?  What kind of people would you be working with?  What skills would you be using?  How would it make a difference in the world?  Fortunately, you are not trapped in your job or life.  You can choose to walk into new freedom – or you can choose to stay in your own private prison.  Like the man in Dickens’ story, it’s tempting to become “secure” even in negative situations.  Yet freedom comes only to those who are willing to surrender the security of imprisonment.

You can’t sail to new lands unless you’re willing to lose sight of the shore.

What’s the “fence” you know you could jump over – but that also provides a predictable security?

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  • Security is an illusion that most people buy into until they get slapped in the face with uncertainty.  I would rather face the uncertainty on my own terms rather than wait for the security to be pulled out from under me.

    The peacock story sounds familiar; when I head to work, it is not uncommon for our neighbors peacock to be in our front yard.  It likes to roam and we all like to watch it.  Funny that we often feel the need to “help” our animals find there way home when they are more than capable of doing it themselves.  As long as they are outside the fence, they are in danger from predators, but often when we leave them alone, they will seek the safety of their home without our help.  

  • I certainly Agree that God often brings us through the desert in order to get to the Promise Land.  The reason?  Simply, He wants the glory.  Not so simply, it is so we can grow, learn to be dependent upon Him, and ultimately discover ways that we can help others in the same arena.
    Jason Ansley

  • Don Roulo

    Love it, love it, love it!!

    We are so much like the children of Israel.  We want to go back to slavery??  Think about the children of Israel.  They wanted to go back to slavery even after MAJOR miracles took place to get them to where they were. 
    Over 2 million people left Egypt and not one was feeble (sick).  2 million people who were slaves and were not in the best living conditions left Egypt in good health!  MIRACLE!

    The Egyptians gave them gold and silver as they left Egypt.  They gave them wealth.  MIRACLE!

    Thats only two small miracles.

    We can all experience miracles to get us to the point in our journey we are and yet we want to go backwards.

    Thanks for the reminder to keep moving forward.

    Don’t hide in your past because you fear your future!

    • 48DaysDan

      Don – yep, we’re on the way to the Promised Land!

  • Chris Puckett

    I fight with this daily. I left my safe and secure State job on December 31, 2011 to work full time for myself. My old job is still open and available. I can have it back with just a phone call. The “stress” and fear of the unknown of self employment are almost enough to drive me back to the job. I have to keep reminding myself of what I’ll be giving up by going back. 

    • 48DaysDan

      Chris – it’s awesome to know we have choices.  If working for yourself is better, then you ought to be able to quickly identify the many advantages.  If you can’t, and really believe your old job is better, then hold your head high and do that job with excellence and passion.

      • Rosanadebellis2

        But what can I do if I do not know what I want ? I know that I want to change my Job for a not classic one I mean I would like to have a paid activity that can do from every place that I can Keep on doing while visiting my family in other country ir have more time to be with them Ana do not know how to start