One of the proudest moments of my life (in hindsight) was walking away from a bungy jump.
Darn computer wants to change it to “bunny jump.” That’s a whole new thing altogether, isn’t it?
I was just writing about the very thing below in my book. It is so close to being finished I can smell it.
Here's kind of an adapted extract. A longer read for you.
Before we get to jumping off bridges - let’s talk about risk for a moment.
Risk — and fear — is an extremely personal thing.
Risk is necessary to move forward in any part of life. Your mind hates risk, it likes comfort: “Don’t do anything!” it says “you might fail.”
Comfort is good, but inaction isn’t, really, is it? So moving forward in life involves getting comfortable with risk, with possibly failing, definitely with making mistakes and seeming a little silly, even stupid, sometimes.
But with risk, I’m not talking about being irresponsible, I’m not talking high-risk gambling with finances or life and limb. I’m talking about not being afraid of fear, of testing your comfort zone. What you will see, however, is the more you test your comfort zone, the more you will come to re-define what your mind suggests is irresponsible.
But understand the scale of that risk is completely up to you, don’t let anyone pressure you.
Anyhow — this is where the bunny, err, bungy, jump comes in.
I was terrified, but really wanted to do it. They strapped me in, did the count down, and … I didn’t jump. The operators counted again, again I hesitated. They mocked me, told me to “strap it on.” Needless to say, that wasn’t the right approach.
I was ashamed as I walked away, the jump untaken, but later I was proud of myself. Jumping off any height is a huge deal for me, and I wanted the experience to be something, for want of a better word, “beautiful.” The conditions weren’t right and so, despite the pressure, walking away was the only option.
Risk — and fear — is an extremely personal thing. Becoming more aware of your fears, your resistances, your limitations and choosing to do something even slightly different in any sphere of life, is a bold and beautiful thing. Truly.
Setting aside the fears of my mind and focusing on what needs to be done to get down a hard rapid in my kayak is a beautiful thing (to me), but so was over-coming my fears about commitment and fully committing to my now wife. That took a serious leap, just as running rapids does.
Being a father involves risk as well: “what if we’re doing it wrong?” There’s so much conflicting advice and personal experience out there about everything, not to mention your own intuition — you just have to choose a path that seems right to you. Sometimes you just have to leap. No matter what part of your life you meet fear or your perceived scale of your steps forward, give yourself a pat on the back for not backing down.
Well done for picking up the true invitation of fear and risking being curious about what is on the other side of that fear of failure, the fear of seeming silly or stupid to someone else.
It’s not easy, I know, but it is rewarding. Authenticity, not hiding, not being afraid any more.
So — take encouragement and inspiration from others, but not pressure. You may never throw yourself off a bridge with an elastic band attached, and you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Risk something, commit to something, but do it your way.
Go well! Arjuna
PS. The greatest tool, to me, to come to terms with fear is meditation. You see it for what it is: your mind’s smoke and mirrors. Your mind’s attempt to keep you inactive and small and comfortable.
Here’s a free guide that will get you started: www.arjunaishaya.com/freestuff