Recently I had the opportunity to watch my grandson at the gym. He’s two years old and his favorite area is the jump pit filled with foam squares. During the free play time of the program, he would usually stand at the side of the pit and effortlessly hurl himself over the edge into the sea of foam.
On this particular day, however, the teachers had left a two-foot-high platform next to the pit that had been used by the previous class. Before they had time to move it away for the younger kids, my grandson climbed on top of it. He was now standing high over the pit, way higher than he ever had before. This was a new sensation for him, but he was on a mission and nothing was going to stop him. Without hesitation, he jumped over the edge and into the pit. He tumbled in on his back, and the look on his face was magical, with a smile as big as a mountain and eyes bright with excitement. He had now tried and done something he never had done before. He came through the experience successfully and life would never be the same for him again.
As I looked around, I realized that he was not alone. All around him, other toddlers were exploring their environments, some jumping with unbridled joy on the trampoline, others giggling as they tumbled head over heels on the forgiving floor mats, still, others joining my grandson as they enjoyed their own flights into the pit. In these moments these toddlers were experiencing something that many adults often forget—that life is a constant stream of new discoveries and when they take on new challenges with passion and without fear, the result is joy, a greater understanding of one’s self, and an expansion of what else is possible.
Many times we might find ourselves looking at having to do something new in our lives and feeling unsure about it. Maybe it’s because we’re in a rut and looking for a way out. Or we might be in the position of having to make an important decision and reticent about taking the next step.
Perhaps we’re stuck in a circumstance where we don’t want to be and believe there’s no easy way out. Often our tendency is to react to these circumstances in ways that don’t serve us well—to procrastinate, to live in denial, to take on an air of hopelessness, or to let fear guide our actions.
None of these actions are likely to lead to a successful outcome, yet we often keep making these mistakes because—quite frankly—it’s easier to live in fear or to blame someone else for our situation than to take full responsibility for our actions. None of that was going through my grandson’s mind when he made that jump. All he knew was that he wanted to fall into the pit and once he made that decision he took action to make it happen. He wasn’t worried about all the “what if’s” that might happen. He just went ahead with what he wanted to do and the result was…success.
Of course, not everything in life that we face is as simple as falling into a soft bed of foam. But until we make our own leaps into the unknown, we’re never going to get the results we want.
What action will you be taking today to move your life up to the next level?