If you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today. -African Proverb
As optimistic as I am, there are many moments where I am faced with a degree of hesitancy regarding a success initiative I should implement.
Intellectually, I know what I have to do to get me closer to my goals, but overthinking the process is where the challenge lies. Sometimes I find myself arriving at faulty deductions based on unproven or mistaken beliefs.
According to Eleanor Roosevelt, success and fulfillment come from doing one thing every day that scares you. The thought of this idea is enough to create mental tension, which brings me back to the necessity of having and exercising courage.
It takes courage to pursue one’s goals and lead a meaningful life. Period. End of story.
Some years ago while vacationing in Greece, my traveling companions and I happened upon an incredible swimming spot where many locals hung out. What my buddies perceived as “incredible,” I found terrifying. Everyone but me appeared to be having a good time.
One by one, as if all sense had left them, my friends followed a host of precocious preteens and jumped from various cliff heights of thirty to seventy feet into the deep blue ocean. Firmly planted on terra firma, I refused to follow those useful idiots.
Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads. ―Erica Jong
What made matters worse was the fact that I was a novice swimmer, meaning, I’d learn to swim a few months earlier. Second, the timing of the jump had to be perfect as the water level rose and dropped by at least twenty-five feet. So what started off as a thirty-feet jump could easily turn into a sixty-feet free fall if the timing was off.
With those factors overwhelming my senses, I refused to give in to the mob encouragement that all echoed, “Jump, jump, jump!” While doing my best to drown out the noise of thinking about the many ways I could meet my untimely death if I jumped, something remarkable happened.
A young boy whom I’d witnessed cliff jump at least half a dozen times, still filled with adrenaline and shivering from the moist air, joined me on the cliff and pointed to someone who was swimming below. The man he pointed to looked like a regular person just having a good time swimming in the deep. But this wasn’t any ordinary person. The person the boy was pointing to was his father, a local champion cliff-diver and folk hero.
The young boy went on to explain that the jump was not as difficult as I had imagined, and it was more mind over matter. My thought was: “Easy for you to say.” The boy calmly stated that he would jump first, swim to his father, and have his dad watch me while I jumped.
The boy did what he said he would do. He climbed to a higher spot not far from where I was anchored, and as if to demonstrate that “it’s not as bad as you think,” looked at me, backflipped into a dive, and entered the water like a hot knife through butter. He then swam to his dad and said something to him. The father looked up and swam near where he figured I would land if I jumped, and signaled me to jump.
My well-placed confidence in this young boy and his father gave me the courage to jump. And no sooner than I had hit the water and surfaced, the father was already swimming alongside me like a protective parent to make sure I was alright.
Looking back, I can now say that fear is not always what it’s made out to be. Perhaps, having the courage to move mountains is not so much about moving mountains. What if having the courage to move mountains was designed to help us capture that brief moment of opportunity and test our courage and willingness to adapt?
Remember, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. Live the life of your dreams and be phenomenal!
Since you’re here…
…I wrote a book about love with the aim of sparking a national conversation about tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. The goal is to get Choose Love Not Hate into every home and school, and make our communities places of intercultural learning and hubs of compassion. It would mean the world to me if you ordered a copy of Choose Love Not Hate today. Thank you