I was walking down the main street in Manly looking for something to eat (standard). As I was scanning the shops nearby, my gaze fell upon an older couple, probably in their sixties. The man, with his unkept beard and smiling face, stood at the end of a strip of small fountains that shot up different heights of water. Beside him stood his wife, wearing khaki pants and a backpack and mimicking his large grin. They both stood with bare feet in front of the line of lit up fountains for a few seconds before the man grabbed his wife’s hand, gave it a squeeze and said “come on, you’ve got to live dangerously!”
I continued to walk past them, confused yet intrigued as to what was going to happen next. The woman looked at him, raised her eyebrows and let out a loud laugh as she watched her husband begin to walk forward, over and through the fountains. Still holding her hand, he gave it a little tug and pulled her towards him. Before I knew it, I was watching an elderly couple precariously lifting their legs one by one over each fountain in an attempt to live dangerously and make it to the end.
The somewhat youthful behaviour this couple was obliviously entertaining the public with got me thinking. What if we applied that attitude to our lives on a larger scale? What if we didn’t take life so seriously? What if we weren’t afraid to give things a go or scared of making mistakes? What if we weren’t worried about what other people thought of us? What if we stopped focusing all of our attention on the reasons why we shouldn’t and start acknowledging the flip side?
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
– Jack Kerouac –
What does your mountain look like? You know, that thing you really want to do, but just “haven’t gotten round to yet”.
Mountain: You want to solo-travel. You want to explore another country and work part-time there. So what’s holding you back? You feel like you aren’t extroverted enough. That you won’t be able to make friends. That you will be lonely.
The flip side: Why not focus on the potential opportunities that could unfold if you just say yes and do it? Imagine how many connections with places and people you could create. Those types of relationships are priceless and will not only allow you to deepen your understanding of, and appreciation for, the world, but also help you learn more about yourself and grow as an individual.
Mountain: You have developed feelings for a person and you really want to tell them how you feel. But you won’t, you are too scared. You are afraid that if you do and things happen to go wrong, you will jeopardise the friendship, or worse, lose them completely.
The flip side: What if you are constantly pushing away the opportunity to deepen this relationship? You are potentially missing an opportunity to learn more about this special person in your life, while also learning more about yourself in the process. Most importantly, you may miss out on experiencing some of the best moments of your life – because, hey, what if it does work out? It could end up being an incredible surprise, because even though you never saw it coming, it turned out to be everything you never knew you wanted. (Side note: speaking from experience with this one! Escaping the friendzone is totally a thing ladies and gents, just ask my boyfriend – who is probably equally impressed that he was finally mentioned in a blog post as he is unimpressed it was in this way).
Mountain: You’re scared to apply for that internship or job you really want, because you are worried you won’t stand out and be good enough. There are so many other people that are also applying for the same role, so what’s the difference if you send in your resume or not – you’ll probably just get overlooked in the plethora of applications.
The flip side: You muster up a small bit of courage so that your initial spark of bravery allows you to potentially bring a new perspective and opinion to the table. You acknowledge the fact that your voice is powerful and holds value and it deserves to be heard. How are you going to know if you don’t try?
That last scenario hits close to home. Earlier this year, one of my best friends told me to apply for a writing position within an online women’s ministry for that quarter. Women from all over the globe who applied would be chosen to fill one of seven positions on the Daughter of Delight team with the role of writing a short devotion each week on an assigned day. The devotions would be published on their Instagram page and blog. After thinking of a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t bother, I found myself asking, “what have I got to lose?” So I applied.
I received an email a week later explaining that I had been accepted to be on the writing team for the following three months! Fast forward to now and the whole stint has come and gone as quickly as I make and eat nutella crumpets. But it never would have happened if I hadn’t stepped outside the confines of my comfort zone, threw away the excuses and acknowledged the flip side. God opened an amazing door and provided me with an opportunity to show His unconditional love – all because I was willing. Don’t get me wrong – it took a lot of effort to get there, but that made it all the more worthwhile. Let this be a reminder to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. The answer is a guaranteed “no” unless we stop being afraid of rejection or what other people will think of us.
I challenge you to ask yourself, what would you do right now if you stripped away the fear? What would you do if you weren’t scared? Together, let’s muster up the courage to overcome fear rather than letting it cripple us. Every once in a while, we need to stop being comfortable. We need to stop settling for our current position.
Considering the flipside? Easy. Making excuses? Even easier. Making an intentional decision to acknowledge your fear, but not let it overpower and control you? As hard as it is to get your hand out of a Pringle jar. But hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m up for the challenge.
Keep smiling. x