La Divina Commedia (3) Creating the life and career you love in the Second Half of Life By Peter de Kuster with Falco Valkenburg Identifying the Hell of Closed Doors Ghiberti’s Doors There is nothing more hellish than the unknown
Think back to the times you were most scared while watching a movie. Bet it were moments when someone up the screen was about to open a closed door, or step into a darkened tunnel, or turn a corner. Or entered hell like Dante. Ironically, the anticipation of the horrors that could suddenly appear were always far more frightening than whatever actually did show up. Stories as Hannibal Lecter which plays in Florence are so successfull because they spend more time letting us dream up our own fears from what remains unknown and unseen, rather than actually showing us something. Right now the hell of obstacles to you creating a life and work you love are at their most daunting because they’re still nameless and shapeless. They’re like the closed doors to Paradise of Ghiberti, blocking your path to paradise, hiding innumerable imagined traps and errors. We’ve been there. We know what that’s like. When obstacles are abstract it’s easy to start playing out worstcase scenarios in your head. As a result, general, free-‐form fears and problems seem insurmountable. Writers like Dante, artists like Ghiberti have all sorts of names for this uncomfortable place. Some call it ‘the descent into hell’, others ‘closed doors’. They all tell the same story: identify all the barriers between you and the life of your dreams. And you can enter paradise or heaven.
The Twelve Most Common Closed Doors The specifics of the obstacles you face will be unique because you and the life of your dreams are unique. We have found however that there twelve general obstacles for people who want to create a life and work they love in the second half of life: age, money, duration, consent, location, physical location, education, timing, esteem, fear of failure, fear of success and fatalism.
1. Age. In our experience, this is the most common barrier for the 50+ Most often, people believe they’re too old to pursue the life of their dreams. 2. Money. A very close second in frequency is the worry that either you don’t have sufficient financial reserves to launch a Divina Commedia or that pursuing your dream life and job won’t offer enough of an income to keep you and your loved ones afloat. 3. Duration. Divina Commedia’s often consist of dramatic journeys requiring a look in the abyss of hell before to move forward to heaven. As a result, you might be concerned by the amount of time you think it will take to succeed in your new life. 4. Consent. No man or woman is an island. Regardless of age, gender or marital status, you may find you need the consent or perhaps even
outright support, of someone else to pursue your dream. It’s common to fear consent will be withheld or support won’t be forthcoming. 5. Location. Despite all the advances in technologie and all the moves toward a global economy, people often believe they’re simply not living in the right location to live the life of their dreams. 6. Physical condition. You can’t do anything if you try hard enough. Some dreams are contingent on your phsyical condition. So work on this. 7. Education. Just as physical condition may be requirement for some dreams, so a specific education may be a sine qua non to succeed at certain Divina Commedia’s. 8. Timing. It’s very common to feel the timing just isn’t right to launch a Divina Commedia. Some explain they need to wait until their lives or circumstances have changed in some way.
9. Esteem. It is incredible how much power over our lives we unconsciously give to other people. Even the most inwardly secure and self – possessed individual often feels a conscious or subconscious need to win the approvement of someone else. We all worry far more about what others think of us than we often care to admit. That’s why esteem is often an obstacle to changing your life. 10.Fear of failure. A lack of self – esteem is an obvious barrier to creating a life and work you love in the second half of your life. Ofcourse it’s rarely framed that way to others. Instead it’s presented as the realization they simply don’t possess the required elements it takes to pursue their dreams. Why put myself through the hell of failure? 11. Fear of success. Ironically, many of the people whose fear of failure is an obstacle to their launching a Divina Commedia also have a fear of success that blocks their path to happiness. They’ll say, even if by chance they achieve their dream, it won’t last long. It will be taken away from them. In their eyes, every success has to eventually become a failure. And achieving a goal, only to lose it later would, they feel, be worse than never having achieved it at all. So, they rationalize, it’s better to not even go after the life of their dreams. 12. Fatalism. Finally, there are people whose pessimistic view of themselves or the world is an obstacle to creating a life and work they love. They don’t feel entitled to live the life of their dreams. They’re fatalists; they
believe that they’ve been dealt a hand they can’t change. Destiny is fixed, in their eyes, and they aren’t going to have any more than they currently have or be any happier than they are right now. Of course, they thing they could get more miserable. Such people often feel trying to create the life they dream of will make them feel even worse. How do we open these doors?