I went skydiving today for the first time. A group of nine other friends and I drove out to a farm that was about two hours away from campus. When we were ready to make the jump, an instructor strapped me up in a harness, clipped it safely to his own, and took me up. As my instructor and I were sitting in the plane, waiting to get to our final altitude of 10,000 feet, something caught my eye: it was a piece of red tape, stuck right next to the door of the plane, and on it, someone had hastily scrawled, “What is wrong with these people?”
Jumping out of planes probably isn’t something most people do on a regular basis. Did I think I was crazy for doing it? A little. (I now refer to the group of friends that I went with as my “crazy friends”.) But I also knew it was going to be completely different and new from my usual routine. And a lot of times, that is an excellent reason to try something new.
Perhaps falling from large heights isn’t your cup of tea; that’s okay. However, I firmly believe that everyone needs to let loose their “crazy” once in a while. Do something unique, unexpected, or ridiculous. Go scuba diving. Sing karaoke really loudly at a bar. Join that student team you’ve always told yourself you wouldn’t have time for, and then work your butt off actually committing to it.
How you define your crazy is up to you. But a lot of times, we stuck in a rut of the tried-and-true. And that’s when we stagnate. As American Businessman Farrah Gray once said, “comfort is the enemy of achievement”. It’s only when we’re pushing our limits and our boundaries that we really grow. Now, am I saying that skydiving has enriched my life, and has allowed me to become a better person? No, not necessarily (though I do plan on getting my licence one day). But pushing my boundaries only comes with practice. If I continually tell myself that I’m not going to do something because it’s too different, too scary, too crazy, then I’ll never really learn how to take risks, or how to go beyond my limits.
(There are also a ton of other benefits of trying something new–for instance, it’s an excellent way to gain some perspective. When I was chatting with my skydiving instructor today, I realized he is doing something he truly enjoys as a career. How cool would it be to share the thrill of your passion with newcomers? That’s something I hope I can work towards as well, with my future profession.)
So, this is my new goal: the next time I tell myself that something is “too crazy”, I’ll stop for a second and reconsider. Is it really? And if so, is that such a bad thing? As I learned from the plane, the hardest part is usually the jump.