Updated: Aug 16, 2019
Back in 535 BC, Heraclitus, said (probably while kicking back and drinking some wine chatting with his friends) "There is nothing more constant than change". Little did he know he would would still be famous for those few short words over 20 centuries later and that the humans of this world would still be worrying about it. But it's true, isn't it? Pretty much all of us worry about how change affects our lives, being in control of it, trying to prevent it, or wanting to create change but fearful of not getting the results we wish for.
So, if it is a constant in our lives, which we all know it is, why do we worry about it so much?
In the 21st century you are more likely to find us sat round with our friends, drinking similar wine with a group of people where at least one person is saying, 'I wish I could but I'm worried that', or 'I have always dreamt of X but I'm not good enough.", or "Everything is changing at work, i don't like it, I don't know what's going to happen." Let's be frank, none of us know 100% what's going to happen in our lives, we can put the ingredients in but so many things can happen along the way. Let me ask you:
"How excited would you be about life if you knew exactly what would happen every single day?"
Now, get past the part where you're thinking I'm living my dream life and that's just perfect. Just think how you would feel knowing exactly, minute-by-minute which way your life is going. In this life there are no surprises, no changes of direction, fate has you sealed in a box and has posted you to your destination. There are those of you who like stability and who might think that's not all that bad but few of us would yearn for a life with no surprises at all; after all, your vision of a life with certainty and no change when you set out on the journey, might not fit you along the road, or may only be a pale imitation of what opportunity could bring you if you sought it. It's quite a thought isn't it, 'what if there were even more amazing experiences out there.'
I'm not saying that embracing change in your life isn't going to be a little bit frightening at times. We have come to expect (mistakenly) that we have control but sometimes you just need to do it. Change, it really is a bit like taking a leap and trusting the world to catch you.
If you have never sky-dived, I really do recommend it. It was the craziest thing I have ever done (and I have done a few extreme things). It is also the thing which beyond anything tested my willingness to literally take a leap, trust another person, and truly live life in that moment, moment-by-moment, experiencing what it brings you. It also teaches you, quite viscerally, that it's the moment before you make the decision to leap that is the worst, not the experience of doing it.
Those fifteen minutes on a plane, packed in like sardines, strapped to a skydiver and convinced the harness wasn't tight enough, watching the altimeter, seeing the ground disappear beneath us, were the longest and most terrifying minutes of my life. I couldn't understand why I had decided to do this, all I could picture were the worst possible outcomes of parachutes not opening and falling 12,000 feet to my death, all for a 'joy ride'. My stomach churned and I turned whiter-than-white. Then as we reached our altitude the door opened fast and people just started hurling themselves out of the plane. I swore, loudly. My instructor pushed me forward and I was taken through the drill. I had made this decision and I really wasn't sure. What if this was the worst decision I had ever made? I had to trust. I had to go through with it. I had to go for the ride and at that crucial moment of no return, all it was was the tiniest of nudges that made it happen and we dived from the plane.
Before I knew it I was falling. I was screaming . The exhilaration was beyond anything imaginable. Here I was flying (OK falling) at 120 mph through the air and now I was laughing. It was incredible. I was in that moment, experiencing all that decision to jump had given me: the ride of my life. The moment the parachute kicked in nudged me back to reality for a moment but after that ride, there was then such a feeling of bliss and just being in the moment as we floated above the earth. All as a result of the massive decision I made to nonsensically (in my world) jump from a perfectly serviceable plane. We floated. I had a perspective of the world beneath me that I had never seen before. I felt excitement. I felt happiness. I felt peace. Then we touched down safely, to a world that is now for me, quite different from the world I knew before.
Change can seem terrifying as can the decisions that lead you there but the outcomes and experiences you get as a result can be beyond quantifiable. All it takes is a decision and a little nudge for it to happen. Go for it. Take the leap.
If you want to see the experience live... check out my video on youtube. And it's all in aid of my friend's cancer treatment.