Poornima Vijayashanker cliff diving on Mljet Island off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Why You Sometimes Need To Jump Off A Cliff

Last week I jumped off a cliff off the coast of Croatia.

What possessed me to do it?

My mind is ruled by two contradictory voices: one that wants to be safe, sane, stable, disciplined, do what it needs to get done, and do what people expect me to do.

Then there’s the other…

The one that wants to be inspired, craves novelty, and seeks adventure!

My younger self-was constantly distraught by this contradiction. Almost always giving into the safe, sane, stable and disciplined voice.

It helped to have people around me who would reinforce that voice like friends and family. Their desire for stability and safety rubbed off on me. So much that it tried to inject itself into my DNA permanently.

But it was met with resistance from the inspiration-wanting-novelty-craving-adventure-seeking voice, which was miserable and wouldn’t give up without a fight!

Eventually, that voice got tired of sitting on the sidelines.

One day it just yelled: “I can’t it anymore!”

Fortunately, it didn’t break down completely, it got smart.

It began by tempting the safe-sane-stable voice using what resonated with that voice the most: logic.

Getting inspired

It pointed out how surprisingly disciplined people were who sought adventure by introducing me to people like my diving coach Tara Tira.

I met Tara at my yoga studio. What inspires me is how hard Tara works everyday on her form, and then there’s the mental part, visualizing what it’s like to jump from 20+ meters. All the while she’s got a smile on her face!

When I see someone being that dedicated, while having fun, it piques my curiosity.

Facing fears

But then there’s that first voice again, telling me, “You’re not Tara! You haven’t been diving since you were a kid. Don’t even think about it.”

So what?

Why can’t I at least try?

I’m not afraid of heights, I rock climb.

I love the water, and I’m a good swimmer.

What do I have to lose?

And honestly, no one is going to know if and when I fail ;)

Dealing with hesitation and JFDI

I gave in and had Tara teach me some of the basics. During my last practice session, I got a gentle nudge from Tara, “You can do it Poornima, I know you can.”

Well if Tara believed in me, then I guess I just had to believe in myself.

Then it was time to get real.

I flew out to Croatia, excited for my first cliff dive, but also extremely nervous.

I stepped up on the rock, looking about 5 meters down (for all you non-metric folks: about 16 feet). Aaron, my husband, was in the background filming. I put my arms up and hesitated, and asked him for some words of encouragement. His response, “Jump!”

Yup, that’s the love of my life ;)

He gave me exactly what I needed, a giant push to make me jump off and into the deep blue water.

We all need people who inspire us, give us a gentle nudge, and giant push (every once in awhile).

But it’s not enough, we also have to listen to ourselves. We can’t ignore those contradictory voices in our head. The one that wants to be safe, while another wants to be bold.

Give each what they need and teach them how to negotiate with the other.

Because in the end, they need each other to be creative, to feel fulfilled, and to make life worth living.

Watch me jump off a cliff on Mljet Island off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia in the video below.

When was the last time you really listened to the contradictory voices in your head? What were they debating about? And how did they negotiate with each other? Let me know in the comments below!

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