A few years ago, I went cliff-jumping for the first time. I had grown up being afraid of heights, but one day I decided I didn’t want to be afraid anymore, and before I knew it my friends and I were talking about going cliff-jumping. It was a hot July day, but I wasn’t sweating because of heat. When we got to the cliff, my heart was pounding and one look at the drop was enough to let me know that I was definitely not going to do this. Without a moments thought, one of my friends had taken his shirt off and leaped off the top of the cliff into the water. Next thing I knew, all my friends had done it and it was my turn. I kept refusing, saying I’ll do it next time we come back or making excuses as to why I couldn’t do it today. Scared isn’t a strong enough word to explain how I was feeling… petrified is more accurate. Even writing this, my heart is beating.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I looked down at the drop, which had to have been no less than 30 feet, one more time. I shook my head and turned around, making one less proclamation of denial. Before I could even finish my sentence, I turned around and ran. I didn’t allow myself to think about what I was doing when I was doing it. I went free-flying off the top. When I landed in the water, I was filled with a rush like no other. My heart was still beating fast and I was shaking, but I was filled with so much adrenaline and excitement that it didn’t even matter. I had just looked my biggest fear in the face and gave it the finger.
While I may never do that again, the experience was one I will never forget. I wish we lived life with that kind of courage – where we can look at the things that scare us the most and push past them. Imagine the kind of life you could live with that kind of power. I’ll be the first to admit that I have denied myself of countless opportunities because I was afraid of what could result from them. But if you want something badly enough, sometimes you can’t think – you just have to take a leap of faith.