It’s a funny thing, the game your mind plays with you when you’re standing on the edge of a three metre-high diving board.
What was effortless for my kids, seemed insurmountable to me. I watched as children raced each other up the ladder and then ran and jumped into the water below with a “Yeehah!”
Eventually, I had courage enough to climb the ladder, but as I stood up the top, the dizziness set in. It was high. Very high! I hadn’t jumped off anything higher than one metre since I was 20. What the heck was I doing?
Then the thought occurred to me. I don’t need to do this just because everyone else is. So, I climbed down and forgot about it for a while.
Meanwhile, my eight-year-old climbed up the ladder and stood there for what seemed like an eternity.
I watched as he went through the process. First, other kids tried to encourage him. Then, they tried to cajole him. He just stood there, attached to the nearest pole. Then, all of a sudden, after a number of false starts, he declared, “Geronimo!” and ran and jumped into the water, three metres below. Everyone cheered!
My eight-year-old had just done what I couldn’t bring myself to do, but what struck me was that he simply made a decision to do it.
So, I knew that, before the day was done, I had to do it too. Not to please anyone else. Just to prove to myself I could.
I waited until I thought no one was watching, climbed the ladder, and walked to the edge of the diving board.
The kids were laughing and playing with a tire tube on the other side of the lake, but all of a sudden, it went quiet. One of the girls looked up and pointed, afraid that if she said anything, I wouldn’t jump.
And then it happened. I just stepped off, screamed, made a clumsy attempt to block my nose, and hit the water. When I surfaced, everyone was cheering. I did it!
The mind is a funny thing. You can stop yourself from doing anything just by thinking about it. You’ll go through the motions of trying to work out what’s the worst that can happen, but true courage is when you know all this and do it anyway.
I jumped off that diving board another three times, and the last time I overbalanced and smacked my face. Ouch! Yes it hurt, but I put that one down to experience.
Sometimes when you jump, you’ll smack your face and come away with a bruise, but you’ll live and you’ll learn from the experience, so you can jump another day.
My thought was, well, if I die jumping off this diving board… what a way to go!
What thoughts are holding you back from diving into something new, scary and amazing?