Many people are standing around a tranquil body of water with their fishing lines cast in it. They believe the water is abundant with fish. They’re content standing there exchanging a word or two, speaking of hope and opportunity. They feel like old friends who are in it together.
Before a cave stands one man looking into it, and from within the cave eyes stare at him. The eyes are frightening, for they could be the eyes of monsters; but on the other hand they could be the eyes of friendly people. The man’s just not sure of which. So he waits.
The people are comfortable standing around that body of water with fishing lines dangling from their poles. There’s comfort in numbers. The weather is fine—fine as in real fine, not sticky hot. Life is grand.
Because the man in front of the cave is afraid of dark spaces, he won’t enter it even if someone were to beat him with a stick. It’s better to wait.
Eventually the people grow tired of standing around the body of water with nothing happening. They get hungry and their arms get tired from holding their light fishing poles. They start lowering their poles, grumbling from hunger. Life isn’t so grand.
Because the man standing before the cave doesn’t feel particularly courageous, he stands there wondering if it’s worth entering. It’s damn cold out and whatever’s inside the cave seem to be comfortable. Whoever’s in there continue to look out, almost taunting him. It’s as if they know something he doesn’t, and this begins to bug him.
Risks are hard to measure and the outcomes are not certain. Because they’re hard to measure, safety (as in numbers) and a common belief (there has to be fish in the water) seem to be more viable. This is exactly why the man is having a hard time entering that cave; it’s risky. Soon he’ll discover that he is a risk taker, an explorer. At the moment he’s unsure of what to do.
The people around the body of water, who are now beginning to drop their fishing poles and swear about being hungry, aren’t risk takers. And look what it’s getting them. They’re getting no fish. Further, they’re beginning to think that even if there are fish in the water, there are too many people with whom to share the fish…if there are fish.
Eventually the man standing at the entrance of the cave decides that entering the unknown is better than standing there and getting nothing accomplished. He takes a breath and puts one step forward, backs up, takes another breath, again puts the foot forward, then puts the other foot forward, until he’s in the cave. And guess what, it doesn’t seem that dark when his eyes adjust.
What he sees around him are opportunities that were hidden from him until he took a risk—only it wasn’t really a risk, as it turns out. He only has one regret; he wishes he’d entered the cave a lot sooner.
Meanwhile the people round the body of water leave, each believing that there are fish in the water. The fish weren’t biting today, but tomorrow will be a new day with hope renewed. They’ll discover much later that the promise of fish was an empty one.