Every decision comes down to this. No, I didn’t come up with this brilliant statement. I got it from a source, but not the one you’re probably thinking of. The words were spoken by Jim Carrey – yes, that Jim Carrey, the comedian and actor we love from Ace Ventura, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.
If you look up videos of Jim Carrey, you won’t see him talking about filmmaking or comedy. You’ll hear him describing his spirituality. He is well-read, he thinks deeply, and most impressively of all – he’s synthesized his zany, absurd comedy to a single purpose: to free people from concern.
Following from this is the essential question of life, which governs all of our decisions. In Carrey’s view, we can choose love or fear in each situation. Basically, we can decide to go with what our heart is screaming at us, or we can take the easy, politically correct way out. It is an extremely simple concept, but it’s quite amazing how difficult it can be to implement.
I, like many people, have chosen fear in too many situations. It’s just easier. If you do what everybody wants you to do, life is relatively stress-free. Nobody has anything to say. You’re just fine. But it leaves you empty. Every single time you choose fear, you are choosing to ignore what you really want to do and are passionate about. Instead, you are just chasing some short-term validation, some free ego-gratification. It doesn’t align with who you truly are.
But what about love? It’s “love or fear” after all. Well, it might not initially make sense to consider the other side of the argument to be “love.” We’re not always dealing with questions of personal relationships, right? Well, the truth is that we are. The relationship is with yourself. Your decisions to go after what you want, to do things you are passionate about – including and especially when it contradicts what other people want – that’s a showcase of love for life. You are saying “yes” to the world – even though it will occasionally fight back. And fight back quite hard. Things could go sideways, opportunities can fade away before they are fully realized, and people won’t always agree with it. Yet if you think about it, you really don’t have a choice. It’s you.
This will look different for a ton of people – for some, it could be following a certain career that goes against what their loved ones expect. For others, it might be taking a few months or year to travel the world with no particular agenda in mind. It might be simply to change how you spend your time. It could be a decision to eschew comfort and misery-loving company in order to put yourself out there and expand your horizons.
It might not be easy, but it is indeed that simple. To fully realize this, it’ll require some introspection – being more aware about what drives you and how you behave. But at some point, it will become clear that in the end, it was just love or fear.
Sean Mikhail is a film student, entrepreneur, and content creator posting daily on YouTube and other platforms under @TheGreatMazomba. Check out his full video here on Jim Carrey’s “Love or Fear” Thesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1u9F4aYsIA