Taking the Leap of Faith

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.

 

-Dhruv.

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An Ode to My Father. :)

My father is my first superhero. With every passing day, I try to emulate his qualities, and be a little more like him.

Dear Dad,

Thank you for loving us unconditionally, and teaching us to live with no regrets. We often fail at things, and fall, too afraid to get back up on our feet. Thank you for making us realise the value of courage, and what it means to face our fears headstrong. Thank you for pushing me to try new things, to venture in unchartered territories, and step out of my comfort zone, because all of these have played a major role in making me who I am, today.

You serve as an example of greatness to us, and we aspire to be a little more like you each day. Being a father is hard. Endless responsibilities to fulfil, countless hopes and dreams to live up to, and a million promises make. The road is not a smooth one, filled with its own ups- and downs, and dangerous curves. You are a role model, a guide and a motivator, challenging us to be better people each day. Despite everything you have worked hard to achieve, you serve as a leading example of humility, kindness and strength. Thanks for teaching me that no matter where I get in life, my feet should always be planted firmly on the ground. 🙂

Thank you for fulfilling our dreams, and contributing to our larger goals and purpose. Nothing I’ve achieved today would be possible without you backing me, encouraging me to go on, even if the idea of success seemed distant and bleak.

What I’ve learnt from you, are the values of trust, honesty, generosity and courage. I know I will never be a better father than you, and thank you for that. 🙂 You are irreplaceable, and life without you is unfathomable.

I’m sorry for all the times we’ve made you upset, and thank you for handling each such situation with so much care. Children aspire to be a reflection of their parents. Thanks for setting the bar so high, encouraging me to test my limits to get there.

To the best father in the world, a go-getter, a winner, a role-model, a superhero- all amalgamated into one person, Happy Father’s Day.

Love,

Dhruv. 🙂

So, What’s Next?

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In light of the recent board exam results, here’s my take on what’s next. Remember- this is not the end, no matter what. It’s just the beginning 🙂

Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my blog. Help me fulfil my purpose, of reaching out to as many kids across the country, and helping them answer to their true calling. I’d appreciate feedback for this article. You can drop a comment down below, or write to me at dhruvg2507@gmail.com. Have a great day!! 🙂

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Another academic year has drawn to an end, and millions of teenagers across the country have received the fruit of their hard-work and tireless striving- their board exam results.

This period of time is particularly stressful for parents and children alike. We’re all on the edge of our seats, eager to know what destiny holds in store for us. We’ve all spent sleepless nights studying and worrying about our exams. We’ve had roadblocks in our journey, times when we felt giving up was much easier than moving on. But, here we are- we lived through it all, and we’ve emerged stronger, and smarter.

Ever since I was a child, countless acquaintances have asked me this question- ‘What would you like to be, when you grow up?’

My answer was different each time. How I miss my halcyon days! My mind was eager to figure everything out, eager to learn. I longed to be something different each day. I wanted to be an author, a pilot, a cardiologist, a speaker, an astronaut- my fickle mind couldn’t stick to one profession.

‘I want to be everything at once!’ I’d exclaim, not knowing that it would be impossible to be everything I wanted.

And then, ever so suddenly. I grew up.

The child in me was lost somewhere, or so I think. I didn’t have answers to questions anymore. I didn’t know where I was going, and what I wanted to do.

I felt bogged down, and defeated, by the education system. Somehow, the pressure became too much to handle.

One by one, I let go of all the ambitions I’d been holding so close to my heart. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go to space anymore, and feel the stars. I didn’t want to fly an airplane either. I stopped working on story ideas- just because people asked me to  pick something different.

My parents stood by me through it all, reaffirming my belief in the fact that I could be whatever I wanted- as long as I was happy. 🙂

But people around me thought otherwise. I was encouraged to abandon my ‘unrealistic’ dreams, and pick something more common, better perceived by society.

Suddenly, the opinions of relatives who didn’t matter started meaning a lot to me. I was frustrated, because I was pressurised by them to make a decision; and to make one quickly.

I was encouraged to pick a stream that they thought I should.

‘But your grades are so good!’ they’d justify their claim. ‘Don’t waste your intelligence doing something mediocre.’

Today, I’m proud to say, that I’ve let go of their opinions. My parents have supported me in every way, and that’s what has made all the difference.

My message to parents across the country would be- ‘Don’t crush your child’s dream.’

Your children are afraid of the future too. They might not have the answers to all your questions. Let them learn, let them grow. They’ll find their way.

Not every child is meant to be a doctor or an engineer. Sure, they might be smart enough to crack the exams, in your opinion. But ask them if that’s really what they want to do with their lives.

Is that where they see themselves, in the next ten years? Above all- will being an engineer make them happy?

My purpose in staking a claim is not to demean any profession. Each profession is respectable in it’s own way. What I mean to say is- let your child make this decision.

Support them in every way- mentally and emotionally. Your support is more valuable to them than anybody else’s.

The never-ending race for good grades is frustrating too. Let your child know, that your love them, regardless of their grades.

The time before results is stressful for everyone. Let your child not lose his/her way, amidst expectations pitted against him/her, by others.

Each child is unique and special. Each child has a purpose, a true calling they long to answer to. Let your child know how proud you are, no matter what. A report-card is not a true reflection of a person’s character. Your child is much, much more than the grades tagged along with him/her.

The world is waiting to see what each child has, to offer. Empower your kids, support their decisions. They will stumble and fall along their path, struggling to make their way. But what they’ll never forget is that you gave them a privilege of making a decision, allowing them to do what they wanted to. And they’ll be grateful to you for that, forever. 🙂