Hey guys! Happy fourth day of 2014! I hope the new year is treating you well so far!
Today, I wanted to talk to you briefly about the concept of bravery. I recently read the short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty written by Steve Conrad and absolutely fell in love with not only the story and the characters, but the overall theme and message that it gave. The short story has been adapted into a feature film directed by and starring Ben Stiller, and after having read the book it was based on, I cannot wait to go see the movie.
The story centers around the main character Walter Mitty, who lives his life through his incredible daydreams. When his job, along with that of his co-worker, whom he begins to fall in love with, are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. As the story goes on, we observe Walter transform from a timid soul who watches the world go by, to a brave man who acts upon his heart’s deepest dreams, facing his fears and going after what he really wants, confirming this positive thought:
“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
I wonder how many of us act like Walter, wanting to change our live and do something different and exciting, yet are paralyzed by fear and routine, rejection and heart break?
I for one, have fallen trap to the “F” word: fear. In my 26 years of life, there have been quite a few times when I missed out on amazing opportunities, on incredible experiences, and even loving relationships because I was afraid.
I was afraid to fail.
I was afraid to put myself out there.
I was afraid of what others might think about me.
I was afraid of getting hurt.
As I sat and read about Walter’s adventures, I had to ask myself how he did it. What exactly catapulted Walter into the life he’d always wanted? Bravery perhaps? Did you know that bravery is the single most powerful emotion we can harness while overcoming our fears? “Be brave? What if I’ve never been brave?”
I think the key to overcoming any fear is to take steps, however small, out of your comfort zone. We all have certain walls and limitations we put up to some extent; its what makes us feel protected and safe. Here’s the thing about these bubbles and walls though: we need to get out of them regularly. These bubbles and walls are big, old, and boring. They’re stagnant and they keep you from the world, and the world from you.
So how do we pop these bubbles and tear down these walls?
Do something that scares you everyday.
These things of course can vary from person to person, depending on what your particular fears are. Take for example me.
- This year, I really want to try to stop focusing so much on being “perfect”. As most of you know, this has been something that I’ve struggled with in the past, the idea that failure or making a mistake was the worst thing that could happen. The fact is, the worst thing that could happen would be for me to miss out on an incredible opportunity or to learn from my mistakes simply because I was afraid. Afraid to fail. Afraid to not be “perfect”.
- I want to unplug. Technology is great, but is has a way of overriding the little everyday moments that we experience. I am going to try (try being the operative word here) to go social media/Internet/text message free for at least one day a week. Relying on a new means of adventure, fun, and personal connection is definitely not a bad thing!
- I want to travel. I want to explore new places, meet interesting people, and get lost. I’ve always been a fan of seeing this great world around me, but this year I really want to make an active effort to do more. To see more. To experience more.
- I want to try and open my culinary horizons. I think I’ve fallen into a bit of a food rut as of late; eating the same things, ordering the same food, all because of habit. I think it would be nice to not only order new and interesting items from the restaurant menu, but also put on my “Kiss the Chef” apron and cook more. Hey, even Rachel Ray had to start somewhere, right?
- Lastly, I want to put myself out there and start dating again. I’ve had my heart broken in the past. I’ve also never really felt worthy of someone’s love, that I wasn’t good enough. It took me a long, long time to finally learn to love myself, to be proud of who I am. Now that I realize how kick-ass I really am, I’m ready to find someone who is equally as kick-ass. I want to find that guy who is my other half, my partner in crime, my best friend. I want to feel that weak-in-your-knees, butterfly-in-your-stomach, can’t-get-him-out-of-my-head, constant-smile love. Will I have to take chances? Absolutely. Will I, on probably more than one occasion, make a fool of myself? Without a doubt. Is there a chance that I will get my heart broken again? Of course. But I’m beginning to realize that this, all of this, is TOTALLY worth the risk.
So how about it, my friends? How about adopting a new outlook on life in 2014? Maybe that means unpluging from technology and relying on a new source of life and adventure. Maybe that means stopping to talk to a stranger or figuring out which way is east by looking at the sun. Or, you can be like Walter Mitty, and borrow a skateboard from an Icelandic teenager and skate your way into an adventure.
Let’s stop talking about having a vibrant life, and start living it.
Break out of your routine.
Do something crazy. Move out.
Go buy a plane ticket and be the story instead of hearing the story.