Black door of fear

"If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been."
- Robert H. Schuller

Once upon a time, a terrible and ruthless king waged war on neighboring kingdoms. During war, all captured spies were treated the same. Any captured spy was sentenced to death, but the king had fallen upon a strange custom. He permitted the condemned spy to make a choice. He could either face a firing squad or pass through the big black door covered in engravings of gruesome scenes of torture.

As the moment of execution drew near, the king ordered the spy brought before him for a short, final interview, the primary purpose of which was to receive the answer to his query. "You can choose, either you will die by the arrows of the firing squad, or ... you can pass through those big black door and never have a chance to walk back. Which shall it be?"

This was not an easy question, and the prisoners hesitated, but always, they made it known that they preferred the firing squad. 

Once, when the war was finally over and the last captured spy made his choice of the firing squad, the king, staring at his boots, turned to his aide. "You see how it is with men: they always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. And yet we gave them their choice."

"What lies beyond the Big Black Door?" asked the aide. “Open and look.” answered the king. When the aide opened the door, sunlight struck his eyes and he could see a beautiful meadow behind this door. "Freedom?" asked the aide. 
“Freedom!” replied the king, "and I've known only a few men brave enough to take it."

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