Fear is the number one contributor to our sedentary lives. Comfort is the second. I realized this over the course of my past few years in Oregon, and was slapped upside the head with it this week as I prepared for a 3k+ mile solo motorcycle journey.
Simple little things began to peak their heads up and wiggle into my world. One of those was this article shared out by my friend Dayle on Google Plus: 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People (note how this is the habits of *memorable* people, not the typical ‘habits highly effective/successful’ people you normally see. Almost makes it more approachable as advice, doesn’t it… I mean heck, we can ALL be memorable in our own ways, and likely even think we already are to some extent… success on the other hand, is always something that we may feel is just outside our grasp and therefore not 100% applicable to us… But memorable? Yes, that is absolutely applicable and attainable!
In the article, there is a deep focus on DOING, and some on failing, but mainly that if you don’t do anything, well you’re not going to be interesting are you? Funny thing is, I’ve taken this idea to heart for different reasons over the past decade… not to be memorable, but rather to enjoy a life worth living. I’ve been trying hard to DO and not just be. I’m better at times and worse at others, but at the least it has always been a nagging motivator. As my friend Kerri would say: “Yes is more fun”.
But it isn’t that easy. And I know you know that too. Fear is a tough thing to ignore as we work out of that comfort zone and shift from *being* to DOING. But it *can* be done, and when it is, we often find that there was nothing to fear in the first place but our own misconceptions and worries (which by the way, aren’t effective for a single damn thing, so just let those worries and preconceived notions go now, we’ll all be much happier). We’re always better off for that new experience, even if it didn’t turn out as hoped or expected.
I can actually trace the beginnings of this shift back to 1997 when I was being interviewed in the third round process for the Orange County Sheriff’s deputy position:
During the panel interview (after the physical test and polygraph, just prior to the psych eval) I was asked what unique skill I possessed to make me successful as a deputy. My answer was driven by the only real experience I had at the time; my knowledge of human behaviour gleaned from voraciously reading and finishing 4 years as an English major. I’m sure you can guess how that answer was received. I was essentially laughed at (admittedly part of the interview process to put a candidate under pressure to see how they react) and mocked for thinking that books could help build skills to be a successful deputy. And to a point, they were right. I couldn’t just read and observe… I had to DO. Ultimately, I was happy to not get the position as a deputy trainee, as I recognized even then that while the training would be an amazing experience, the first five years of working in the jail systems would likely make me into a person I didn’t want to be. The lessons I learned about myself, through the process, however, were invaluable and I’m quite pleased to have had that experience, even if I failed at my end goal.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of taking off for a week and riding 3k plus miles alone on my motorcycle. But you know what? I can’t let fear dictate my life. So I’ve opted to DO, and become, not just be. Not only does this trip scare me by the scale of it, but I’ve also let go of a lot of planning and left it open-ended, so I can be open and flexible to enjoying adventures as they come my way. Previously, I’d have over planned any trip like this, pre-booked all my rooms, mapped out specific routes and set rigid timetables. But having gone off-the-cuff during my August 2010 ride down to San Francisco and up to Crater Lake, I found that it was not quite as scary as I’d thought, and much more doable and interesting to go with the flow. Of course, this is also a trip into the wild unknown, on roads I’ve not see outside of Google maps (barring one 60 mile stretch of I-84 heading out east…).
Roll that all up together, and yes, I’m petrified. I’ve been petrified before and allowed that to prevent me from doing anything. I’m no longer okay with that safety which my mental paralysis provided. So, in the serendipitous spirit of “being memorable”, I’m going to DO. And take pictures while I’m at it… hopefully… if I can stop by bike long enough to get off and actually snap some. Sometimes my bike just doesn’t like to stop until I can’t go anymore, so we’ll see.
Baby steps, you know… who knows what the future may hold by staying on this path…
Why not join me on this “quest”… read the 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People and start living a little bit outside of that comfort zone. DO more and see what happens…