Even the Bravest Needs a Shove

By Bill Hodges

©2003 Hodges Seminars International

Life is one great adventure after another for those who will try something new. There are those who consider life a success if they can tiptoe from birth to death and no one notices them. There are others who not only accept challenges, but actively solicit them. Those in the last group are the people who truly get the most out of life.

Niccolò Machiavelli said, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." To paraphrase Machiavelli, doing something new is scary. But from the time we are born, our growth as functioning human beings is predicated on how well we meet and adapt to change and new circumstances. If we did not overcome our fear of falling, we could never learn to stand up. Many of us have the scars on our knees to prove that we persisted even to the point of physical injury in our desire to learn what was, to us, a new skill called bicycle riding. But what a thrill it was to feel the wind in our face when we mastered the art. We conquered the fear and the feeling we got from it was like no other.

Chance takers are the ones who move our society to greater and greater heights. They constantly push the envelope of what can and cannot be done. They see something new as a challenge to be attacked and bested. Does this mean they have no fear? I think not. I believe they achieve in the face of fear because they will not give in to self-doubt and the defeating thoughts that come with it. They concentrate not on past failures, but on their past successes. This gives them the courage to go on. They know failure is possible, although improbable, as long as they hold steady to their course and work up to their capabilities.

It’s tough to move outside of our comfort zone, but that is the only way that we can grow. Sometimes even the bravest of us needs a shove. Few small birds would spread their wings and leave the nest if their mama didn’t nudge them a little. But mama knew they were capable of flight even if they didn’t. In business, the nudge may come from a boss who believes in us and sees before we do how our capabilities can be used in new ways. Just as the baby bird plummeting to the earth has the capability to stop its descent and soar upward, so too do we have the power to achieve new heights—if we will tap the power within us and believe in our ability to succeed.

Succeed or fail, how boring it would be for the baby bird to forever remain in the nest, never to spread its wings and touch the sky. How boring life would be if there were no challenges. To accept the challenges life gives us is to be an active participant in the adventure. As Voltaire said, "If we do not find anything pleasant, at least we shall find something new."

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

Web site: http://www.BillHodges.com

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