30 March 2013, by A. Cedilla
I’ve been in a rather grey funk lately. A family member had to be hospitalized earlier in the year, a big bill just came in (it was expected, actually, and we’d saved up for it, but it still bites, you know?), that damn ache in my knee came back, the politicians are still pointing fingers….I mean, all at once would have been overwhelming, but over time?
Over time, things can just just grind you down. Your field of vision gets narrower, until it’s all you can do on some days to put on foot in front of the other and just keep moving.
Then there are the days when it takes everything you have just to stay and not say, “That’s it. I give up.” At those times, I think I’d rather throw the dice than throw in the towel. I give up, things stop. Nothing changes.
I throw the dice, I make an opening for something else to happen.
Throwing the dice isn’t like trying, in the same way that dipping a toe in the water isn’t swimming — When the time comes, either you get in the water, or you don’t. There are no half-ways. You want to learn to do something, you do it; study while doing. You want to find out about something, research is only one step of many, because theory isn’t experience.
Life isn’t only about comfort, or safety. It’s about learning about yourself and what you have to give–to the world, to other people, and to the ones who come after you.
Throwing the dice means taking your chances with the outcome, whatever it is.
It means trusting yourself to see the end of it and come out the other side alive — hopefully more experienced, more confident and wiser, even if it didn’t quite go the way you’d hoped. That’s what happens behind the scenes. When you take a chance, you’re betting on yourself.
How vividly do you remember the risks you’ve taken in your life?
See? If anything, the risks we truly remember are the ones that scared the jelly into our knees and the stone into our stomachs. Whether or not those feeling were accompanied by manic determination or iron stubbornness, the emotions that burns the experience in are usually fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
More often than not, the fear sticks out more, making it difficult for us to keep taking more risks –and consciously taking risks is the only real way to grow. You have to push yourself to see past the what-if’s that come from fear and anxiety.
Here’s the hard truth in a three sentence presentation:
- Everything mortal dies.
- You are mortal.
- You will die.
People tend to forget this. We prepare, we get insurance, we exercise, but for the most part we side-step the crystal hard reality that one day the world will turn on it’s regular schedule and — we just won’t be here to see it.
What will you do then?
Death is such a hard limit isn’t it? That’s why we fight so hard to avoid it. But one subversive, in-your-face human insouciant reply:
- Why not? (The YOLO school of thinking is a spin-off.)
- Another is: Since we’re going to die whatever we do, let’s find out what happens next when we do this, or that.
Physiological reactions to perceived threats are unmistakable. The switch that controls your response –not reaction– is perception. How you see something determines what you do in response — or in reaction.
- You see (and feel) the fear, you avoid the thing that inspires it.
- You see the possible future lying past the fear, you can decide with a clearer mind how to address the fear while moving forward.
In other words, you risk.
- Is this going to kill me – YES/NO
- Am I going to get something out of this either way? YES/NO
Nobody gets out of the game alive, so live out loud while you’re still here. Take a chance. Throw the dice. See what happens.
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