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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Leap of Faith

Aghast, I watched as Lizzie leaped off the road and plunged down a near-vertical embankment. She'd spotted a squirrel in a tree down there, and she chose the shortest route to get closer. The 12-foot drop landed her in a pile of twisted limbs and underbrush, and for a moment she disappeared under all of it. When I saw her again, she'd emerged and was standing at the base of the tree, staring at the squirrel who was two-thirds of the way up the trunk.

Lizzie was none the worse for wear.

I marveled at what she'd just done...the courage it must have taken, but even more the confidence she must have felt. If she'd hesitated even a split second, she might have realized the riskiness of her behavior and changed her mind. But she didn't. She let her confidence carry her forward and over the embankment. It wasn't a foolhardy leap. She simply felt she was capable of landing on her feet, so she took the plunge.

We humans can learn a lesson from Lizzie's self confidence. Many of us spend so much time deliberating our decisions and actions that we miss the window of opportunity. We know darn well we'll survive the leap (or the lifestyle change, relocation, or whatever) but we're afraid. An extra moment of hesitation leads us to ponder the NEGATIVE possibilities instead of the positive. The negativity feeds on itself, until the body and mind are screaming, "No, don't do it. Don't jump." And then the chance to act just blows away.

Change can be scary. Or it can be exciting. It'll probably be both, but we have to make the excitement overpower the scariness. Like Lizzie, we'll never EVER get that squirrel if we don't just take a calculated risk and make the jump.

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