Jump – But Test The Depth First

If you’ve been on Facebook more than 20 minutes, you’ve either seen this video or memes created from it with Steve Harvey saying if you want to be successful, you have to jump.

While on one hand I agree with this advice, on the other hand I don’t. Yes, if you want to be successful you have to take risks, yet there’s a difference between risk and risky. My good friend Sam Crowley explained it this way:

Risk is driving down a road at 100 miles an hour. Risky is doing the same thing at night, with no lights on, and drunk.

Too many people jump into the water without testing the depth first. Growing up, we would go cliff jumping in the lakes in Arizona. We’d climb up the side of a mountain, swallow hard, and then leap into the water below.

While yes, to jump off a cliff is to take a risk, we never did it without checking the depth of the water first.

Test The Water

You have to take risks to move forward in your life. Like the old saying goes, to get something different, you have to do something different. That’s what Harvey is proposing in his exhortation to jump. He also mentions that it isn’t without risk. You’ll get bruised and bloodied at first as you learn to soar.

This is absolutely to be expected. Nobody is an expert the first time out.

You just have to be certain how much risk you can stomach and how much you can stand to lose before you start winning.

Somewhere Between Comfortable and Kamikaze

If you’re content with the life you have, then stay where you are. There’s no need to disrupt your flow if you’re happy. Yet, as Harvey says, you’re yearning for something more, you’re going to have to take a risk.

Every individual has their own tolerance for the pain of change. The trick is to find the balance between the low risk of being comfortable and the being risky like a kamikaze pilot.

If you jump without testing the water you may find yourself in the “driving drunk going 100mph at night with no lights” mode and cause yourself more damage than you think.

The best way to expand your tolerance for risk is to constantly stretch your comfort zone. The more you push your boundaries the easier it will be for you to not only take risks but to know where the ‘red line’ is for you.


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