When I travelled to British Columbia along Canada’s beautiful west coast, I wasn’t expecting to plunge nearly 200 feet off a bridge over the Nanaimo River. It doesn’t sound like a far distance, but when you’re at the top looking down, the bottom looks nothing but an endless mount of hard rocks and ice cold stream.
I made the climb up the stairs to the edge anyway, and waited my turn to make the ultimate drop. Reaching the peak, I could hear a little voice questioning if I would actually commit. Did my courage follow me up or had I conveniently left it at the bottom of the bridge? With my luck I’d have a slight rope malfunction as I jolted down head first into what looked like the shallowest river ever. Yes, that’s a real possibility.
But the alternative option of turning back and leaving my two feet firmly planted on the ground was not a possibility. Living a life of reservation and never stepping out of my comfort zone was out of the question.
My experience plunging off a bridge in Nanaimo was life changing. It’s not so much the jump that was life changing, but it was because I chose to do something when I wasn’t sure what the outcome would look like. It was because I made a decision against fear – a four letter word that can hold a lot of f-in power if you let it. Fear is often the reason we make the decisions we do. If you’re not careful, fear can keep you chained to the status quo and can keep you from doing the things you wish you could do but are too afraid to. Fear can be limiting, but it doesn’t have to be. I think if we can recognize what we fear, we can choose against it.
I had an alternative choice. I could have said no, backed away from the edge and returned home without ever challenging myself again. But that’s the easy way out and I was convinced I had to see what was on the other side. I shut out the little voice in my head, said yes and took the leap of faith. I’m so glad I did because I now see life differently.
I’m not about to stay in my comfort zone or shy away from the things that scare me the most. I learned to challenge my limits and realize I’m capable of much more than I thought. I learned not to give fear power over my decisions. The alternative choice could not give me all this.
Life is about making choices that move us forward not keep us stagnant.
I think the best things happen to you when you go against fear and choose to do it anyway. Don’t think. Don’t analyze. Don’t ask. Just do. Whether it’s making a crazy jump head first or an unexpected career decision, a life-enhancing experience can only happen when you decide to step out of your comfort zone. If you choose to stay in fear, you
could will be missing out on amazing experiences and life-changing lessons. When you let go of fear, you accomplish great things and (quickly) realize how silly your fear was in the first place.
So, the next time you’re deciding on something crazy or completely unconventional, there’s one question you should ask yourself – does the alternative make you happier?