The Fish Bowl: Are you IN or are you OUT?

I was recently having coffee with a friend where we were discussing the state of the economy and my upcoming book. I was explaining my rationale behind writing the book, is to inspire people to achieve their dreams and find something they are passionate about, that pays them well. During this conversation, my friend raised an interesting question: “What if some people simply have no desire do to be successful?”

I have to admit, I was rather dumbfounded by this. I asked her to elaborate, as this seemed like a foreign concept to me. Doesn’t everyone want to be successful in their own right? Her response was one that caused me to pause and think. She explained that we all live in a fish bowl, however, because the fish bowl is glass, and therefor transparent, it is almost impossible to see the fish bowl that you are in. She shared with me a cathartic moment she had experienced, where she was able to see herself from outside the fish bowl. What does this mean? It means that, from her perspective, most of us go through our day to day lives swimming about in our fish bowl, unaware that there is anything available outside of what we can conceive. For a certain few though, they realize the limitations the fish bowl imposes upon them, and they choose to live a life outside of the fish bowl, where things are less certain, but anything is possible.  

It is a fact that people who choose to live outside the fish bowl can still see into it, however, they embrace the uncertainty and the unease that comes from living on the outside. A wise person once said, “If you are not expanding, then you are contracting.” The same could be said for the people who choose to free themselves of their constraints. They are fearless in the face of the unknown, and in being unstoppable, they can often achieve their dreams.

The important point about the fish bowl is that those who are in the fish bowl and are content to be in the fish bowl, should not be forced to live a life outside of the fish bowl, outside of their comfort zone. If someone chooses to spend their life or career swimming in the fishbowl, with no ambition to ever attain success or even possible failure by leaving their comfort zone, those outside of the fish bowl should NEVER force anyone to embrace the alternative option.

Look at your life. Are you content to simply “go with the flow,” and live a life where you might not ever achieve your dreams, but you might have a great life? If living a simple life works for you, then there is no need to change. If instead, you are someone who wants everything that life has to offer, and is not afraid of possible failure, then embrace your fears in working towards success. Acknowledge that you have spent your entire life being comfortable, but if you are truly committed, you can choose to leave the fish bowl and carve out your own path. Failure may come, often more than once, but if you persevere the rewards on the other side of the glass with be plentiful.


My benefit is to offer people tools to set measurable goals, minimize fear, and achieve their dreams. For information about working together please email me: jennifer@jhccs.com 

One thought on “The Fish Bowl: Are you IN or are you OUT?”

  1. The fish bowl is a very good metaphor for one’s perspective on one’s potential and life. In the current economy, those who look outside their fish bowl will be the ones who succeed. Those who continue to swim around out of fear will be the ones who are left behind.

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