Thursday, June 16, 2005
While I was growing up, my father kept a journal of his own thoughts and his favorite quotes. Many of the quotes - all of his and some of others - I transferred into my own journals after his death. There was one particular quote that was written in his journal (author unknown) and the very same one he would remind me of from time to time. You've most likely heard it (or a variation of it) and it goes like this:
"In order to succeed, you need to go out on the limb. For that's where the fruit is."
Of all human conditions and actions, risk is one that doesn't seem very natural at all for us humans. Only a few of us look forward to it and even fewer actually thrive on it. And yet, as a condition of this very tentative life, it is a natural part of our process... whether we like it or not, or accept it or not.
Fishing from our back porch onto our lawn is never going to land the big fish. Hunting tigers in our own backyard is never going to land the big game. And standing at its base and shaking the tree will rarely yield the largest fruit. There is a certain amount of risk in all that we do; even stepping out of our home and going to work. It's just that we've come to set a limit for acceptable risk - just enough risk to keep our life interesting, meet a few of our goals and also keep us safe.
But what if you absolutely knew that you only had the next seven days to live? What would you do that you haven't before because the risk was too high? And now, what if you absolutely knew that you only had the next twelve months to live? What would you do that you haven't done because the risk was too high? Sometimes when we are pushed to the very edge with nowhere to go, we quickly grow wings.
Remind yourself that your physical life is finite. It will eventually end - for the richest person and the poorest person. There's no escape. We know this. You and I know that we can take nothing with us - our accomplishments, our relationships, our belongings. We take nothing and our time is limited in this physical existence. So how are those risky things you haven't done looking now?
Don't wait for those things that are worthwhile, my friend. Go out and hunt your tigers. Climb out and get that fruit. Leave the comfort of your own backyard, take that risk and grow your wings... because time is ticking away.
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