Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts, and take the leap of faith. We’re all subjected to uncomfortable situations in our daily lives, that prompt us to step out of our comfort zones. But if you trust your instincts, and do what you think is right, you will be able to take this transition with a greater ease.
I learnt how to swim when I was three. Every summer, I’d go through a rigorous training, that lasted for about a month. The pool was divided into three sections, and it got deeper as one crossed over from one section to another. On my first day, I was allowed to be in the shallow end of the pool, that was about 5 feet deep. I threw up a fit, obviously. I was scared, and confused, and worried for my life. But somewhere deep inside me, I knew that the right thing to do would be stepping out of my comfort zone, and experimenting with something new. Slowly but surely, I managed to learn the basic movements and techniques. In about a week, I could swim around just fine, all by myself. I was certainly overjoyed- I had trusted my instincts, taken the leap of faith, and conquered an irrational fear that had plagued my mind for the last two weeks. Everything was on track- for the first two weeks, I’d swim in the shallow end for about an hour, call it a day, and go back home.
A few days later, my instructor asked me to move to the deeper end of the pool. This time, it was about eight feet deep, and I was more terrified than ever. It seemed like an impossible task, according to my three-year old brain. Once again, the tantrums began, and I refused to budge. My Mum urged me to try it out once, but I was obstinate. Why did I have to move to the deeper end, when I was swimming just fine, in the shallower end?
‘But Mom,’ I’d argue. ‘I know how to swim now. I can swim in the five-feet end. Look!’ I’d say, jumping into the water, vigorously flapping my arms like a crazed bird, trying to prove my point to her. She’d sigh and shake her head.
The next day, despite all my tears, I found myself clinging onto the ladder that led to the 8-feet section. And, this instance served as an example for years to come. Often, as humans, we hold onto things for temporary comfort and safety, afraid to face the harsh realities and situations that have cropped up around us. My message to you would be- don’t cling onto the ladder. Don’t shy away from swimming to the middle of the pool, where the water is the deepest, and there’s no going back. Once I let go of the ladder and began swimming across, I knew I couldn’t get out unless I made it to the other side. And that became my goal and purpose- letting go of false reassurance, challenging myself, stepping out of my comfort zone, and getting to the other side of the pool. The joy and confidence that trickled in along with the sense of achievement and pride are inexplicable.
About a week later, I moved on to the deepest end of the pool. The water looked daunting and fiercely intimidating. I peeked into the pool, standing close to it. The water looked dark, scary and mysterious. I dipped one foot into the water, and instantly withdrew. The water was ice cold. I almost let out a scream.
I took a leap of faith later, eventually. I jumped into the pool. Probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I tried my best not to sink, as my instructors watched over me. My mom stood by the pool, nervously looking at me. Although she had encouraged me to overcome my fears, deep inside, she was worried for my safety too. I didn’t look back. I trusted my instincts. I got out on the other side, beaming. I had won over my fears. My mom was beaming with happiness and pride.
Since then, I went swimming every summer. Eventually, they asked us to jump off the diving boards, which again required a lot of courage. I had to jump off a 30-foot high diving board, into the water that was another 15 feet deep. Would I want to plummet 45 feet downwards, and roll into a ball on impact? No, thank you. But I did it anyway. Maybe because my gut told me to jump off the diving board, no matter how high it was and no matter how scary the view was, all the way from the top.
Honestly, it did hurt a lot, the first time. Falling from such a height, the water felt like concrete. I thought I’d broken all my bones, but my arms began to fall involuntarily, and I knew I wouldn’t sink, if I tried. I felt alive, and free.
Now, whenever I am in a scary, uncomfortable situation, I look back, and think of all these situations. Whenever I’ve had to deliver a speech at school, talk to a large group of people, or showcase my abilities, I know that I’ll get far; if I trust my instincts.
In any situation, the hard part is taking the leap of faith. The first, big jump. Once you take that, you’re good to go. Nothing can take you down. Even in an aircraft, the pilot’s main worry is executing a safe, hassle-free take-off. So many things could go wrong, right then. A bird could get caught in the engines, the plane could catch fire, there could be any other emergency on-board. Although such scary visions pop into his head, he does take off. He puts all the force he has, into propelling the plane. Once the airplane is in the sky, the rest of the journey is relatively easier. Maybe, he knows that if he can execute a successful take-off, there’s nothing he can’t do.
We all have goals and targets to accomplish. Just know that everything you want to achieve requires hard-work and a desire to step out of your comfort zones. People who are pioneers today never got all that they have by clinging to things that gave them comfort.
Let me share an interesting fact with you. When baby giraffes are born, after a fourteen-month gestation period, they land on their heads. Ouch, right? I bet that landing headfirst on the ground would hurt. On the contrary, this fall helps them to start breathing. What if a baby giraffe would say- ‘I’m scared to land on my head. Please provide an alternative?’ He would never live, for starters. If this blow helps the baby giraffe to begin its life, just imagine how the step you’re so afraid to take today will change yours, forever.
After falling, the baby giraffes are up again, and begin walking in about an hour after birth. They cannot mope and crib about their injuries. If they choose to do so, they won’t be able to suckle, and will lose out on nutrition. It’s important to stand up, tall, after you take your first step. No matter how bad it might prove to be, moping about it will do you greater harm than anything else.
The main conclusion is- trust your instincts. Do something that terrifies you, everyday. That’s the only way you’ll grow as an individual.
A sense of comfort is illusory. It will only last for so long. If you’re not willing to be up and doing, ready to face anything, you will be residing with a fake sense of accomplishment. That’s not a pretty sight, is it?
Ultimately, the power of decision-making rests with you. But it’s important to note, that being afraid will be fruitless.
Let’s push in some physics concepts right here. I’m sure we’ll all heard of circular motion. A body revolving in a circular path, at a constant speed. However, the displacement of the body is zero. Zilch. The body started out from a point, in full speed, but is now back to the same point. No work is done.
Similarly, staying in our comfort zones and abstaining from taking the leap of faith brings us back to the spot we started our journey from. Back to square one. We end up making no progress.
Today, my Mom often jokes, that I can swim possibly anywhere. No matter how deep the water might be. This brings with it a sense of accomplishment, that wraps around me, almost like a warm hug. Now that I know how to swim, I can swim just about anywhere. Similarly, try stepping out of your comfort zone once, and doing it over and again will be effortless and natural, with time. You’ll see for yourself. 🙂
Taking ‘A Leap Of Faith’ is doing something, whose outcome cannot be defined and explained in the very beginning. And that’s what makes it so special. Not knowing what would happen, what could go wrong.
Believe in yourself, and nothing in the world will be hard to do anymore. If I can do it, so can you! May you abound in joy and happiness and success, now and always.