Take Chances

There are a few things that I have always been terrible at doing.  Planning for trips, meeting up with friends for a late night, and getting involved with group volunteer activities are a few that come to mind.  What all of these activities have in common is that they require that I leave the comfort of my own home for a new adventure.  I enjoy the familiar and the routine, but like anyone else, I become bogged down without the opportunity to have novel experiences navigating the unknown.  The relationships I could build if I made more of an effort to get out and volunteer, spend time with friends, or explore new places would be worth so much more than the money I bank by taking things easy and settling for a quiet evening and an individual workout.

 

James Harmon in his book, Take My Advice, includes a letter written by  Michael Thomas Ford in which the author states, “Take Chances. I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s harder than you think.  I seem to pick this scrap a lot, probably because I need to be reminded of this on a fairly regular basis.  The older you get the more excuses you come up with for why you can’t quit your job and spend three months writing that screenplay or why it’s ridiculous for you to even think about running in that marathon.  of course it’s all a fear of failure. But failing is a lot better than wondering what might have happened.  If you’re pretty sure something isn’t going to kill you, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.”

 

I think that Ford’s quote hits several major points for me.  Taking chances and putting myself in new situations does sound like an easy thing on the surface, but once my day gets started it begins to feel impossible for me to do all of the things that I would like to do, especially when a bigger risk is involved with any given thing.  With my limited time I find that I fall back on the comfortable habits that I have developed.  I have worked hard to build myself a routine where I take care of all the work I need to in a day from work itself, to exercise, cooking and cleaning, prepping for the next day’s lunch, and organizing small things.  What soon looses a space in my day is the exciting and fun that accompanies the unfamiliar.  Spontaneous dinners with co-workers often don’t find a way into my plans, and I never seem to plan that road trip I have been longing for.

 

Ford is encouraging us to get out of our comfortable daily routines that maximize our responsibility and efficiency. He certainly is not advocating for us to be irresponsible and lazy, but rather he is urging us to do something new that will build memories in ways that material items and a checklist never will. The fear of failure that Ford mentions is what drives us into a mere existence as opposed to a full life.  We want to impress others, prove our mental strength, and be productive, but sometimes our motivation for these activities stems from external rewards and sources.  Shutting off the outside voices allows us to ignore the fear of what people would say or what may happen if we do fail at something, and gives us a new reason to do the exciting thing we have always wanted.

Chaos and the Unknown vs the Mundane and Predictable

A constant tension in my life is summed up by Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light, “As scared as  I was of chaos and the unknown, I was equally scared of the mundane and predictable.” Since about half way through college, I have had serious fears when looking  into my future. One of the principal fears is the fear of boredom. I do not want to live a life with a routine that does not excite me. I have always been afraid of being stuck in front of the television each night watching sitcoms or sports. I am afraid of doing the same thing every day. Afraid of not exploring the world, and missing the chance to truly live. At the same time that I find myself wrapped up in fears of not having a life that I enjoyed, I want nothing more than to be comfortable in a predictable world with a nice house, a nice job, a nice salary, and no stress.
In college I was not sure what I needed to do to find a way to live a life that fell in them middle of my two fears.  As a sophomore I was active with coaching cross country and some basketball, and I was getting great grades in school, but I was not a complete person, and I was not sure what direction I wanted my life to move in.  I began to question my desires, and worry about the importance of material things, especially if I did not have real relationships and fun people to share my imagined success with.  I eventually began to take more chances and I got involved with clubs and organizations. I started as a member of the Spanish Club and eventually grew to start my own podcast where I interviewed student leaders to highlight the cool things that students at the University of Nevada did beyond the classroom. This taught me about how important it was to take chances and put yourself in situations that are new and scary. All of the guests of my podcast found a way to go beyond the comfortable success they wanted in college to do things that were difficult, not always clear, and so often rich with relationships and new connections.
As I have moved forwards in life, graduating from college and entering the world of the 40 hour work week, I am still working on understanding how to live a life that balances the chaos of the unknown with the mundane and familiar.  I have turned to podcasts to help me explore new areas, and have put myself in positions that will provide me with opportunities to explore. The real lesson that I have learned is that it is ok to allow myself to build a safe place and a home that can be predictable, so that when I do begin to branch out and explore,  there is a safe place I can return to, allowing the world to slow down around me.

Chaos and the Unknown vs the Mundane and Predictable

A constant tension in my life is summed up by Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light, “As scared as I was of chaos and the unknown, I was equally scared of the mundane and predictable.” By the time I was half way through college I began to feel a serious angst when looking forwards to my future. The fear I was developing was the fear of boredom. I did not want to live a life with a routine that did not excite me. I was afraid of being stuck in front of the television each night watching sitcoms or sports. I was afraid of doing the same thing every day. I was afraid of not exploring the world, and missing the chance to truly live. At the same time that I was wrapped up in fears of not having a life that I enjoyed, I wanted nothing more than the security of the predictable; to be comfortable in a nice house with a nice job, a nice salary, and no stress.
I was not sure what I needed to do to find a way to live a life that fell in the middle of my two fears.  As a sophomore in college I was active with coaching cross country and some basketball, and I was getting great grades in school, but I was not a complete person, and I was not sure what direction I wanted my life to move in.  I began to question my desires, and worry about the importance of material things in the absence of real relationships and fun people to share my imagined success with.  I eventually began to take more chances and I got involved with clubs and organizations. I started as a member of the Spanish Club and eventually grew to start my own podcast where I interviewed student leaders to highlight the cool things that students at the University of Nevada were active in beyond the classroom. This taught me about how important it was to take chances and put yourself in situations that are new and scary. All of the guests of my podcast found a way to go beyond the comfortable success they wanted in college to do things that were difficult, not always clear, and so often rich with relationships and new connections.
As I have moved forwards graduating from college and entering the world of the 40 hour work week, I am still working on understanding how to live a life that balances the chaos of the unknown with the mundane and familiar.  I have turned to podcasts to help me explore new areas, and have put myself in positions that will provide me with opportunities to explore. The real lesson that I have learned is that it is ok to allow myself to build a safe place and a home that can be predictable, so that when I do begin to branch out and explore, I have a place to return to, allowing the world to slow down around me.