This is a video of a 4th grader (9 years old) going down a 40 meter ski jump for the first time. She has done the 20 meter before. The camera is mounted on her helmet and her coach or dad or some other trusted adult is next to her.
Watch the video.
When I saw this video for the first time, I was so moved. I almost cried. I could hear the fear in her voice. I could FEEL her fear. I could hear her wimpers and her doubt. And then, she does it.
She takes a giant first lean and down she goes.
And she is so victorious. She is just fully alive and so excited at the end of that run. She wants more. She wants to go for the 60 meter!
I don't really know why this video moved me so much. I think it had something to do with seeing someone be brave. I mean really really brave.
That slope looked freakin' long. And steep.
I felt so PROUD of her. Almost like I was her mom or something. Just so proud that she was able to overcome her fears, or rather, that she chose to jump DESPITE her fears.
I think as we grow up, we become more risk adverse. We want financial stability and diversified portfolios to secure our retirements. We create budgets and schedules in an effort to control our environment and have stability. Don't get me wrong, I don't think any of this is wrong. I think these things are responsible and reasonable things to do.
However, I do think that somehow, this wanting stability and comfort has translated into not wanting to take any risks. At all. Not wanting to be vulnerable and not wanting to fail. Avoiding pain, grief, and shame at all costs.
And what does that get us?
I guess it gets us stability. But... we miss out on that. That experience in the video. The exhilerating feeling of being fully alive. The adrenalin rush of being brave and courageous.
What one thing can you do to be brave today?
I think the opportunities will present themselves if we slow down, watch, and listen.
Here is a poem to inspire you:
Just for Today by Kenneth L. Holmes
Just for today, I will try to live through this day only,
and not tackle my whole life problem at once.
I can do something for twelve hours
that would appall me if I felt that I had to
keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to
be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that
"most folks are as happy as they make up
their minds to be."
Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind.
I will study. I will learn something useful.
I will not be a mental loafer. I will read
something that requires effort, thought and
Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is,
and not try to adjust everything to my own
desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes,
and fit myself to it.
Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three
ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and
not get found out. I will do at least two
things I don't want to--just for exercise.
I will not show anyone that my feelings are
hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not
Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look
as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low,
act courteously, criticize not one bit, not
find fault with anything and not try to improve
or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today, I will have a program. I may not
follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will
save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all
by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
sometime, I will try to get a better perspective
of my life.
Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I
will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful,
and to believe that as I give to the world, so
the world will give to me.
I'd love to hear in the comments how you want to practice being brave today.