Go Jump In A Lake!
There is nothing like the feeling you get, when you run full speed, and jump off the end of a dock landing in ice cold water. This is what my daughter and I did on Saturday morning at our camp in the Adirondacks. Of course, she was in the water the evening before, not long after we arrived. We had friends join us Saturday afternoon and their son couldn’t wait to jump in the lake. The wives chose to sit this one out.
What is it about the simple act of jumping in a cold body of water that is so invigorating and fun? I thought about it, and there are some good life lessons contained in this example to share. The first being you have to commit. Today, commitment to a worthy endeavor is welcomed more than ever, probably because we see so much apathy and indifference. Sunday afternoon my daughter had a piano recital. Watching and listening to all of the different students play the piano was amazing. Amazing to me because I can’t play anything. I never committed to the time it takes to learn such a skill. You could see the joy on the students faces when they nailed their piece. You could also see the disappointment when they made the smallest of errors. It still sounded great to me, but because they had invested so much time and effort, they were upset with themselves. Again, another sign that they have been committed.
The launch or leap is the next part that I separated out. Once you have committed mentally, the next part is to actually physically do the thing. Running down the dock is part of it, but are you speeding up or slowing down as you get ready for the take off? Slowing down is the sign that you are having second thoughts, doubt is starting to creep in. Speeding up represents attacking the task. The faster you get it started the sooner it will be completed. The more you hem and haw over it the less likely you are to even do the thing. When I was in college, I took a group of guys on a camping trip to a remote location in the Adirondack Park. I took them to a cliff that I had previously jumped off of into a lake. It is about 30-40 feet high and is very intimidating when you stand on the edge. I went first, followed by another brave friend who took a few minutes to get mentally prepared to make the leap. Of our group of about 8 guys, everyone had jumped except one guy. He stood at the edge for a long time, and just could not get up the courage to take the leap. Nothing we said or did could get him to take action. He was paralyzed by his fears.
Once you have left the dock you have a brief moment of being in the air before you actually hit the water. This air time is the “point of no return” moment. We do this all the time when we order something on Amazon. It is the time between when you hit purchase and you receive the confirmed acknowledgement. The action is done, it is the moment of waiting for the outcome. You submit your test, and you wait for your score. You step on the scale and you wait for the number to register. You can’t get to this point without the previous ones. They all build off of the ones before.
Next is the landing, or the result. This is when the cold-water registers with your brain and you want to gasp for air. Then you settle your mind and try to take in how it really feels to be where you are. Was it worth it? Does it really matter, because you are here now and there is no going back? This is the time we assess the new situation, and we have to decide what to do next. Do we stay and hang out? Do we do it again? Do we get out as quick as possible and dry off? Do we laugh hysterically and congratulate each other?
The next time you are considering doing something new, different, and maybe even a little scary, I encourage you to consider this metaphor. Certainly, it has to be a worthy endeavor, meaning safe and beneficial to all people involved. We all need encouragement from time to time. We also limit our lives by playing it so safe that we never commit to much of anything. My pal Josh Lewis own’s the gym Co-Movement, and his motto is to “Live and Move Courageously.” I couldn’t agree more!