As of April 2017, The Workbook Project has bloomed into 29 Project, a radical happiness experiment.
Kalyn here. I’ll be publishing a blog (ish) a day leading up to my 30th birthday – that’s 365 potential stories and life lessons to share! 29 Project will be real time documentation of what it’s like to live a wildly productive, explosively happy, shockingly honest twenty something existence.
Hesitation is a Dream Killer
I went to a yoga meetup in Miami a few years ago. Specifically, an acro meetup (it’s that crazy new hybrid that fuses partner yoga with acrobatics). Let me tell you, it was an adventure. I remember doing a pose called flagpole for the first time, which is literally where you use another human body as a post while you thrust yourself out horizontally and are semi suspended into air. Google that shit.
Anyway, we met at a park by the water and played the day away. All hundred of us, sweaty, thrill seeking adults experimenting with tricks and bonding like sisters and brothers. As the meetup was winding down we migrated over to the beach. There was a platform overlooking the water about 20 feet high, that naturally, I climbed up to in my exploratory state. It wasn’t long until a few other yogis met me at the top.
As onlookers got out their phones to take pictures and gazed up at us in awe, a few of our friends started chanting “jump, jump, jump.” Without hesitation, the two yogis by my side took a step back, then ran, lunged and hurled themselves into the ocean.
Me, I paused.
There I was, all alone on the top of the platform, overthinking what was supposed to be a spontaneous moment of fun. “What if I trip?” “What if I hit the shallows?” Now keep in mind, at this point in my life I was a physically able bodied – and I’d go so far as to use the term athletic – twenty six ish year old yoga junkie with absolutely no fear of heights. I’ve jumped out of planes, I’ve spent an afternoon on a flying trapeze, I’ve hung from aerial silks and I’ve certainly never chickened out before.
My fear brain took over that day, and two anticlimactic minutes later, I climbed back down the platform as the crowd awkwardly dispersed and tried their best not to let the clear disappointment show in their faces.
Hesitation breeds fear.
I’m not urging everyone to jump off a bridge if their friends are doing it. That’s not the story here. What I will tell you is that if I could go back in time and relive that moment, I would take the fucking leap. To this day, every time that memory pops up in my mind, I kick myself for hesitating. Not because I looked dumb or because I’ll never have another adventure, but because I talked myself out of something that I was perfectly capable of doing. Oh, the symbolism of that moment.
Tony Robbins holds annual conferences designed to bust people out of their comfort zones. The level of hype is unreal. He inspires the audience to jump, touch, scream and shout. Anything to get them out of their heads and into their bodies. His theory is – and I’m pretty sure he’s got some backup on this one – if he can get people activated on a higher level, they’ll function with more courage. They’ll have breakthroughs, and reach elevated levels of thinking. They’ll take charge and override their fear brain.
This is kind of brain reprogramming that we need more of in order to lead extraordinary lives.
Unfortunately, the part of our brain that’s designed to keep us safe can be our biggest inhibitor. It’s the voice inside us that prevents us from starting a business, calling the guy we like, moving cross country or dancing our hearts out in public.
What if our big thinking brain took over for our fear brain? Pass the mic, please. Can you imagine. What if we could live in a state of “I can do this” versus a state of “That looks scary, I’m not going to try.”
Revolutions, my friends, are what dreams are made of. If we can make a conscious decision to pivot our thinking in times of fear, anything is possible. We’ll have the courage to jump off cliffs (literally!), express how we really feel, say no to things that don’t feel good, invite in adventure and watch new worlds unfold for us! There’s something in your life that you’re afraid to do, and you’re hesitating. What is it? Find your platform, and take the leap.