Imagine yourself standing on the edge of a stream. It’s not huge, but it’s wide enough that you’re a little scared of falling in if you were to jump over it and getting yourself from one side to the other would definitely take a big leap. It’s just you and the stream.
Now, the side of the stream you’re on is fine. There’s some decent berry bushes, the grass is soft and comfortable. You could just sit down in the sunshine, snack on some berries, and be content. And, besides, you can’t really see what’s on the other side of the stream very well anyways because, besides the place you’d land if you were to jump, there’s trees clouding your view. So staying here, on this side of the stream, where it’s safe and there’s berries and sunshine and a soft place to sit – that’s fine.
Now imagine, you’re sitting on your side of the stream and all of a sudden you notice a flicker through the trees on the other side. At first, it’s just a slight distraction and you brush it off. Then you hear the chiming of some music and you notice the flicker again. Is that an ice cream truck? You brush it off, but it’s a little harder this time. Then more music and you actually see the outline of the truck. It’s definitely an ice cream truck.
And. You. Love. Ice Cream.
Suddenly, your safe side of the stream doesn’t seem so great any more. Berries vs. ice cream? I mean…come on.
So you start to work up the courage to jump over that stream. At first you take a run toward it and balk. You’re scared, it’s understandable. Then finally, after convincing yourself that the ice cream can’t be denied, you take a running leap and soar over the stream, running at full steam through the woods, and right up to the ice cream truck where you delight in enjoying your favorite flavor in a waffle cone.
The Stream and the Ice Cream
Now, what if you replaced the parts of that story with normal, every day things? Humor me this example:
- Current side of the stream = your present. It’s safe. There’s some nice things. But it’s just fine (especially once you know what’s on the other side of the stream).
- The other side of the stream = your future. There’s something great over there. You may not be able to see it at first (blocked by some trees), but the longer you pay attention to the signs of what’s possible (the flicker, the music), you realize that it’s where you really want to be.
- Leaping over the stream = the action to go from where you are now to where you could be.
Now, what happens when we try to cross our metaphorical stream?
We might realize that we imagined the stream was bigger than it actually was (aka we freaked ourselves out more than necessary).
Other times, the stream’s bigger than we thought it was, but that means we’re so much prouder of ourselves when we accomplish the leap.
And other times, still, we leap and we fall in the water. But what’s the worst that happens in that case? Most times, we just get wet. Yeah, being all wet sucks, but the stream’s shallow so it’s not like we drowned or anything. In this instance, I see two choices.
- We can choose to wade back to the safe side of the stream.
- We can slog through the stream to climb up on the new side.
The first option is fine, as long as we don’t get so upset at being wet that we refuse to try the leap again. Remember, even though you got wet, you can adjust your technique (a longer running start, jump higher, etc.) to make a better attempt. You learned something by falling, so that you can improve the next time.
What are you dealing with in life right now where you feel like you’re staying on the safe side of the stream? It might be a job, a relationship, a fitness goal or something else entirely. What sort of leap do you need to take to get to the other side? And will you be courageous enough to take it?
I hope so. Because ice cream is always worth it.