Before I did the Nevis Bungee jump, I thought it was incredibly brave to be able to just get up there and deliberately jump off a massive ledge. I dreamt that if I could do that, I’d learn how to mindlessly jump into anything in my life. But I didn’t learn that exactly.
When the moment came, I got up to the platform and told myself exactly what I thought I needed to hear to do something so scary. “OK, just go for it. Just jump 440ft off the ground and free fall for 8 seconds.” But who was I kidding? That sounded insane! I couldn’t stop thinking. I just wanted everything to stop for a moment. I needed a couple more minutes to wrap my head around this but the guy strapping on my harness was moving way too fast. My breath was short. My thoughts were racing. “I can’t do this. This is insane. Slow down.” I heard a count down behind me so I bent my knees, looked down into the massive canyon…and I couldn’t just jump.
But then the harness guy gave me unexpectedly wise advice. He said, “Just put your hands up in a diving position, look straight ahead, bend your knees, and at the count of 3 push your feet off of the platform.” So I did what he told me and only thought about each step at a time without thinking of the end result. When he counted me down there was nothing left to do but dive into the free fall.
This didn’t make sense to me at all! How was I able to jump if it wasn’t impulsive and I wasn’t mentally ready? I probably could’ve spent another week trying to get my head in the game and I was still going to overthink everything that scared me about it. My definition of “jumping into things” had been completely shattered.
Instead, I learned that it’s okay if you can’t just say fuck it and go for it. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, telling someone you love them- these are all very overwhelming when you think about them…and they come with a lot of undeniable consequences. All you have to do sometimes is break things down into steps and mentally hack yourself by eliminating the implications. Moving to a new city comes with a million things to be scared of, but buying a one way ticket? packing up your bag before the trip? Not so much.
So next time you have to make a decision that’s important to you, no matter how big or small, absorb yourself completely in every phase of the process as if nothing else matters and before you know it, your head won’t get in your way to the finish line.