You’re standing at the edge of a ravine. You have a harness around your ankle and attached is a really long chord which is firmly attached to a steel bridge. You hope.
You’re terrified and feel as if you are going to pass out. But, you’re told that if you jump, a part of you that is used to giving into fear will be smashed to smithereens. From now on you’ll be able to do anything.
You’re tired of being fearful, so are willing to scare the shit out of yourself and jump, praying that you won’t die just to prove something to yourself. This is your chance to get rid of your fear by doing only one huge task.
Some would call it the instant fix. The path of least resistance that humans love to take. Just let me take that pill, do that one task, invest that large amount of cash, play the lotto and in one ball drop all my problems will be gone.
Do you take that jump, or do you step away and instead choose to tackle your fears in small steps by facing them rather than a short intense jump through them?
I was faced with this choice on my recent trip to Port Douglas. Sky dive or not? (I wrote about it over here.)
I’ve bungy jumped before, but I was 21, before the part of my brain was developed that understood about risk and consequences. I jumped, not to prove I was fearless, but because I thought it would be fun to scare the shit out of myself and beat my chest after.
I know longer think risking my life is fun because I love my life too much to let it go.
Skydiving for me was the same. I knew
a) I would be shit scared the whole time so would not have any fun, perhaps the last 5 mins of the experience when I knew I was a not going to die. A couple of months of fear build up for that is not worth it.
b) that I did not need to sky dive to prove that I was powerful beyond measure.
I already knew that.
I’ve known because of the little growth steps I’ve taken consistently; by staying present in every moment of my life and taking risks that brought me far greater reward; from pushing my own comfort boundaries that did not bring in the risk of death or injury.
It’s just like bathing, you have to do it everyday. And in small steps so that my mind, body and spirit is in a happy, peaceful place to absorb the lessons, which in turn help to move you through to the next comfort level.
We need to be shaken up and sometimes the jumps off cliffs or the walks across glass do serve that purpose. They can show us how much power we give to our fears, but those short intense moments will never change your life.
You will change your life.
It’s the series of small steps that has done it for me.
It’s the consistent application of personal development that has helped me. It’s the consistent actions of doing something each day that scares me: making a phone call, writing a post, standing up at assembly to talk to 500 Thai high school boys who did not understand a word I said, sharing my insights too crowds of adults.
So if you have certain fear blockages in your life, I urge you to look more at the small, consistent steps to overcome them. Don’t look for the one intense task that you think will smash it in one go.
It rarely works.
What can you do today to start this process? What small, consistent steps have you taken to move through your fears? Or do you think a slam dunk like jumping off a bridge with a chord attached to your ankles will do it?