Do one thing every day that scares you.
Wise words from a wise lady. Do we often heed them? I certainly don’t scare myself every day.
I did on Monday, though, and it was for the most part invigorating, but also frustrating. I let myself down.
Rather than spending money on presents that people may not use again (cufflinks are becoming really quite outdated for most people), K and I decided that for at least some of our wedding presents we’d give people memories of time with us, not something in a box.
This lead us to be stood at the foot of a 40′ high forrest with all sorts of bridges, swings, ladders and challenges set out in front of us with Gary, my Best Man.
If you’re not been to a Go Ape course, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s thrilling, exhilarating and, if you don’t manage to land of the zip lines correctly, a bit muddy, too.
A Challenge Too Far
I did, however, bottle it on one point of the challenge.
Halfway round the penultimate section of the course there is a large “Tarzan swing”, which involves stepping off a platform and dropping a good 7 or 8 feet almost vertically before the rope catches and propels you into a cargo net on the other side.
My biggest mistake, I can now see, was in letting Gary go first. Gary is fearless (or at least hides his fear well) and launched off, but even he was shocked by the sharpness of the fall. With no one else in front of us, I hadn’t seen anyone do it and I’d been psyching myself up for it since the day before; I’m convinced if I’d gone first I would have done it, but watching Gary go got my nerves too taught to let me do it.
The biggest thing that struck me and disappointed me, though, was how much of a return to the Oli of old it felt like.
As I’ve got stronger and fitter post-transplant, I’ve tried to push myself more, to take things on that I didn’t really like – things that scared me.
It’s exciting, it’s invigorating, it makes you feel truly alive to come through a moment of fear with triumph on your back.
Yet I still couldn’t step off the platform. I let my fears and doubts overwhelm me rather than seeing the fact that it would have been a few moments of fear and unpleasantness in exchange for a whole day of pride.
Instead, I’m still thinking about it as something I didn’t do, something where I let fear defeat me.
I can’t go back and make myself do it. I can’t guarantee that the next time I’m on a Go Ape course that I will be confident enough to do it. But I can promise to use this negative energy that stems from the failure to motivate me to push myself harder.
The experiences that make up our lives make us who we are. That doesn’t make me any less of a person for not throwing myself 20′ into a cargo net from 40′ off the ground, but it does illuminate my own state of mind when it comes to challenging myself and embracing my fear.
What do you next want to do that scares you? How will you push yourself to achieve it?
For added comedy value to this post, check out my Facebook post with a video of my final zip line landing Gary took. K christened it the ‘man-fall’.