Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. -Mark Twain
On the ropes course, many have heard me quote (or often misquote) Mark Twain about courage. Very often people tell me they’re afraid of heights. This often begs the question:
“If you’re up high, what are you afraid will happen?”
Answer: “I’ll fall!”
Next question: “What happens if you fall?”
Common answer: “I’ll break my leg!” or arm, or neck, or back…
Consider this: the fear this climber experiences on the ropes course is not about the height, or even the fall itself. The real fear is the result of the sudden stop at the bottom. The fear of being hurt. The fear of the unknown.
If you cross the street, the chances of getting injured are astronomically higher than getting injured on a ropes course. In reality, the "risk" of the high ropes course is mostly a perceived risk, not an actual risk. Knowing this, why is there so little hesitation to cross the street compared to an abundance of hesitation to leap off a ropes course element?
My thought: crossing the street is more familiar! You feel better prepared to take on the concrete jungle because you are familiar with the risks—real or perceived.
For me, the best part of working with people is watching them grow right before my eyes; seeing realization dawning on an open mind, or participants implementing new skills after a lesson just learned. One of my favorite moments is asking a climber after they complete a high ropes course, “Were you scared?” If they answer yes, I take the opportunity to tell them, “That’s evidence! You have courage!”
As we stand on the edge of the Leap of Faith called life and consider the jump into 2024, what is waiting for us at the “bottom”—December 31st, 2024? What about June 23rd? February 5th?
I challenge you: close your eyes and think of a time you were scared and you moved forward anyway. Then, open your eyes and take on life!