There is a first time for everything. There will be a second time for most things.
How much more interesting would life be if we were all a little braver? If we had more experiences to learn from? If every knock-back made us even more determined to better ourselves? Better to “walk the walk” and stumble every now and again than “talk the talk” and live in a fantasy world.
Lots of people are scared to live. From their childhood they are told to be careful, to be sensible, to follow the example of their parents. The unknown isn’t something to be explored; it is to be avoided. They aren’t thrown into a swimming pool to see if they will swim. The training wheels are kept on the bike long after they aren’t needed.
Many of us (myself included) have grown up insecure and afraid of the dark. We tend to stick to the well-trodden life paths. Corporate careers, stable jobs, company pensions, five weeks annual holiday, promotions every 5-6 years. That is the big picture. On a smaller scale we accept the status quo, we follow the rules, and we defer to authority. Yes, that is the way an organized business and a just society is run, but should those maxims rule every part of our lives?
Over time, I have learnt that I am not average. I positively enjoy making mistakes. I like pushing my own personal “rules” for life and adapting them so that I can be the best possible version of me. I am the only person in charge of my own destiny. No one is going to say that because I got a B at GCSE English Language, I can’t become a writer. Well, they can say it, but I will tell them to $#*k off.
I am now striving to live my life at more than just 10% of my potential. I have had many, many “first times” over the past couple of years. Sometimes I have failed, but at least I failed quickly and more often than not then succeeded on my second or third attempts.
At no point in my life have I ever felt fully ready to do something. I wasn’t ready to get married at the age of 23. I wasn’t ready to lead a start-up in Russia at the age of 26. I wasn’t ready to be a father at the age of 28. I wasn’t ready to start my own business (twice). But I jumped in the deep end, and after a few ups and downs, everything worked out fine.
I’m not afraid of failure anymore. Bring it on.
I say well done to my kids if they push themselves but sometimes fail. I would much rather they test themselves on tricky spellings and get 8/10 than breeze the easy ones and get 10/10. Better to try to write tricky words than the ones you are sure how to spell. Better to make a messy dive off the 5m board than a perfect dive off the 1m. My daughter takes bravery to new heights - literally…..
Watching her on that 5m diving board, I can tell she is nervous. She is never fully ready to jump because she isn’t yet in total control of what is going on. The first few jumps are never perfect, but she learns as she goes along. She is fearless, and I will do my best to encourage that attitude throughout the rest of her life. One day she will climb those steps to the 10m, of that I have no doubt.
There is nothing to be feared, and there will always be a second chance.