If Hindsight is 20/20, Look Back Without Regret
Do you remember that experience of jumping off the high diving board for the first time? I’m not talking about the high diving platform – I just mean the 3-meter diving board at most local swimming pools…
I remember one of the first times I jumped off… I was terrified! I didn’t realize until I got up there and looked down, how high I actually was. I wasn’t an especially gifted swimmer either so along with the height and feeling I could fall at any minute – there was slight fear of drowning added into the mix too.
When I was standing at the edge of that springboard I remember thinking to myself: “Well I can’t climb back down because that would be admitting defeat and I can’t stay up here forever… My only option is to jump.”
Regardless of how terrified I was, I jumped – and guess what! – I lived to tell the tale. You know what else? Jumping off the high diving board got easier every time I did it…
Why am I telling you this?
Well the truth is that most of us look at things we haven’t done before in the same way. Most of us look at the idea of striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know, starting a new job, negotiating a selling price, starting with a new trainer, hiring a coach, etc. with the same fear and “uncomfortability” that showed up the first time you did something that really stretched your comfort zone – like jump off the high diving board.
Yes, when you’ve never done something before (or have only done it rarely and without conscious intention) then it’s uncomfortable, and us human beings thrive on certainty and knowing what to expect. That way we can plan our reaction, make sure we’re landing on our feet with finesse, and come out looking like a relative expert.
The thing is… nothing in life is certain; well nothing except that everything changes. I suppose some would argue that you could count on death and taxes too… not the point.
My point? You will never know what’s coming from moment to moment. Sure you can identify what’s predictable, but you can’t identify for sure what’s coming ahead of time or know with certainty how it will roll out.
If you let your need for certainty – which is the same as NEEDING CONTROL – run your life you’ll only get so far.
Think about it: where in your life do you seek certainty? How about this: The truth is you (consciously or unconsciously) look for certainty in just about EVERYTHING!
The truth is, the thing that’s keeping you from living life the way you want, is this thing. The same thing that has you hesitate from jumping off a high diving board (or whatever it was you hesitated to try as a kid) is the thing that has you hesitate to take that leap of faith in your life – whether it’s with a new career, a relationship, an adventure… Doesn’t matter.
We try to control or find certainty in everything from how we think people should be to what people think of us; or at least we act like we should have certainty around those things.
We want to know what’s coming so we can plan how we’re going to respond. We want to know how someone thinks or feels and we try to control that by the way we are with them. We want to know how someone will respond to us and we try and control them by the way we behave.
Take the example of the person who wants to know who else is applying for a job before they themselves apply for it; they want to know what their chances are… and if they find out that so-and-so is applying then they don’t even bother because they figure there’s no point as so-and-so is more qualified.
Or it’s the way you want a guarantee before you invest in anything. Whether it’s regarding your own hard earned cash and an investment or your previously bruised heart in a person, we want to KNOW how things are going to turn out…
You won’t start your business because you’re not sure how it will go.
You won’t leave the relationship because you’re not sure what life will be like outside of it.
You won’t start counselling and deal with your sh*t because you don’t know what that might look like, so it’s easier to keep doing the same ineffective stuff over and over.
What are you not doing?
When we’re unsure of our ability to end up looking like a star in a given situation, we tend to shy away from (or lets be honest – completely avoid) taking action.
You know there’s something on your to-do list that keeps getting rescheduled, pushed further down the list for varying reasons…. I must ask: “How’s that working out for you?”
- Are you getting the results you want?
- Do you have the things in your life you want?
- How much are you tolerating and putting up with?
So here’s a challenge for you… JUMP.
If you’ve been making excuses to not jump off your metaphorical high-diving board, I challenge you to take the leap.
There may be lots of great reasons why you haven’t jumped thus far and I challenge you to put all of them aside and just jump in. As Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over.”
Remember, the worst that’s going to happen is you’ll belly-flop and get the wind knocked out of you for a few moments. Yah it stings a little, but you can have a buddy there as a lifeguard to make sure you get to the side of the pool with your dignity and pride in tact.
Practice makes progress, and doing anything new will require time and patience to develop a level of comfort with it. If you’ve never done it before, of course it’s going to feel awkward! Give it a few tries off the low diving board first and I’m confident you’ll get the hang of it.
Let me know how it goes!
Until next time ,
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