Do things with a brave heart.
Do things mindfully and with intention. Explore opportunities. Exercise fruition towards success and failure. Use both outcomes in order to grow.
This is a philosophy which I follow. And although it is in no way a unique stance, it seems to me that more commonly choices, moments, decisions, and chances, are treated with the disposability of a tissue, or a text with “LOL” written instead of trying to find the right words. Space savers, as it were, to get us from moment to moment, whilst keeping us blind to the possibilities which are so close.
Experiences can easily be reduced down to something lost or forgotten. You can live a life of genericy (it SHOULD be a word) too easily. Skimming over filtered media-moments, waiting for better offers, and inadvertently doing nothing. Opportunities fly by because we are looking down, instead of taking a breath and jumping though the metaphorical open window (of opportunity).
This is a shame.
Why do things seem so complicated, difficult, and disorientating?
Fear of Yes
We are scared. That part doesn’t take rocket science to deduce. Saying ‘yes’ to things can take courage. Saying ‘yes’ allocates you. Commits you. Guides you.
Yeah – sometimes it does, but what it also does is open up a whole new horizon. A horizon which I picture being like a magical book where if you pour mandrake root blood on the paper, the text appears from the blank page and reveals more of the story. Or like more of the map unlocking in Grand Theft Auto, after a successful mission. Or like revealing the Boss Chamber in a dungeon in Zelda. Or in Final Fantasy if you….sorry. Anyway. You get the gist.
Saying ‘yes’ is harder than saying ‘maybe’. But ‘maybe’ doesn’t do anything. It’s a holding pattern where we buffet around getting nowhere, while moments fly by.
Saying ‘yes’ comes in two forms – asking for something and receiving something. The ‘yes’ where we ask, is when we put ourselves out there; seeking/demanding/challenging ourselves and others. Identifying a new route on the map, and then daring to take it.
The ‘yes’ where we receive something is when we take the leap to change the moment, however small, and go in that direction, based on an opportunity presented to us. A night out, a job, a conversation, a kiss, a free cheese sample. Whatever.
These ‘yes’s’ add up, and we can change and grow in wonderful ways if we are brave and allow ourselves to act with commitment to a moment, however small. We should seek them out, and make them happen.
After all, the fear of doing something is far outweighed by the regrets of listless hindsight.
Fear of No
This one is the hardest word to receive. It is virtually impossible to not take personally. A ‘no’ can destroy you utterly. Rightly so. It’s absolute. No discussion or negotiation. No chance to shine. Horizons/magic pages/possibilities closed off in a word.
By asking for things, or making yourself open to the ‘yes opportunity’ you run a 50% chance of receiving a ‘no’.
Brutal odds. Ladbrokes (other betting sites are available) would be bankrupt if they operated under these conditions.
Honestly – they’re daunting, and so enticing to avoid.
But don’t avoid them. They guide you. Harshly sometimes, but a ‘no’ means you have to go on. On to a new path with new opportunities. Getting a ‘no’ means you have taken action, that you are brave, and that you are trying to change things.
Saying ’no’ is just as powerful. You can make or break things with this word. I try and use it rarely. This doesn’t mean I accept everything in my path. Far from it. But a finite ‘no’ I use wisely. There isn’t any turning back from a ‘no’. New path on the map, please. This route is closed.
The Comfort of Nothing
So you change nothing. You turn down opportunities and internalise because it’s easier, and less stressful. Waaaaay less risk, too.
Now think back to last week and see how significant the passage of time seems. What has changed? What have you learned? Who have you influenced? How have you grown? Did you get that good achey kick of fear in your chest? Chances are you could transpose the days within that week, and your timeline would remain unaffected. Timelines can easy expand into months and years if you get familiar with not taking action or committing to moments.
It is no secret that the biggest regret people site on their death bed is that of missed opportunities. Acts of inaction that they hang on to, and in those last moments of life, they are lost in retrospect.
So brace yourself. Do something.
The Discomfort of Something
Each day I try and do at least one thing that scares me. One thing that takes commitment. One thing I wont get my time back from doing. It’s a physical feeling when you are at the tipping point of a decision, however mild. The wings of the butterfly in Madagascar which may have caused a rainstorm in Vancouver, are replaced by you, generating change.
My decision to move to London was displacing and traumatic. Poetically miserable at times. But I made choices, made myself uncomfortable, made myself lost and frustrated, stood alone at parties where I didn’t know people, contemplating what the hell I was doing. But these discomforts opened up so many paths for me, I can’t even quantify them now. My past seems like someone else’s life I have grown so much. And I could have stayed. Stayed with the comfort of nothing.
Change things. Accept opportunities, and take the difficult route of making yourself vulnerable and visible. Be open to chance.
I go through life with the only certainty being that I know virtually nothing. Control is a myth, and foresight isn’t always an option. But being brave in the present is the one super power we all have. In the moment we have everything.
Even if we don’t have the right words, we must speak our mind. Ask for things, and prepare to receive equally. We are braver than we believe, and we have more influence than we give ourselves credit for. And we should take the chances we deserve.
Live with confident uncertainty. Make decisions. Make your map reveal itself.
“Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.” T S Eliot.