View On Motivation

By Judi Moreo

People want to be safe in everything they experience. We always want to see if others experienced something before we decide to pursue that experience ourselves. But the very idea of staying safe can actually bring us to a point of not living the life we really want to live.

Take skydiving, for instance. Many people shy away from jumping out of an airplane as they fear the parachute won’t open when it is supposed to. Even having a reserve or emergency parachute will not change their minds. And there certainly have been instances where both the main parachute and the reserve parachute did not open and the skydiver plunged to his or her death.

So, why do people do things such as skydiving or mountain climbing, etc.? The answer is because they get a thrill from doing it —many call it a head rush — but it means the same thing. Natural thrill seekers and daredevils never seem to have a problem with the risks associated with these activities. But for everyone else, it can take a lot to muster up the courage and go on a thrill-seeking adventure.

Me, for instance. I was once married to the typical man’s man — outdoorsman, sports enthusiast. This man loved anything athletic. And he thought I was supposed to love it as well. I mean who wouldn’t love breathing fresh air and climbing for hours and hours to heights where the air was so thin you couldn’t breathe it? I must tell you that hanging off the side of a cliff by one tiny little rope was not my idea of a thrill. Nor did I find wearing all kinds of heavy equipment and being dropped into the ocean to be terribly thrilling! I was pretty sure we weren’t really bonding. I felt more like he was on the brink of finding a way to get rid of me.

Then there was the snorkeling adventure. No sooner did I stick my face under the water than an eel decided to look me in the eye to be sure I really wanted to be there. He was right, I did not! I came out of that water so fast, I looked like the Roadrunner at full speed. Then I sat on a rock the rest of the day and watched the others frolic with the fishes.  

Canoeing down the White River wasn’t nearly so bad since the water was only a couple of feet deep. But then it got shallower and we had to carry the canoe. It was not one of those lightweight, made from bark canoes. No. It was made of some kind of tin, and the blasted thing was really heavy. When the water got a little deeper and it came time to get back in, I had one foot in the canoe when the other foot slipped out from under me. I was hanging by the foot in the canoe with my head under two feet of water, drowning, as my loving partner laughed so hard, he couldn’t even get me unhooked.

And can you believe I still allowed him to talk me into a snowmobile adventure into the high country — which was beautiful by the way — until I fell off the back of the snowmobile and he didn’t even miss me for a while. When he came back to get me, I was up to my waist in snow, blue lips and all. He turned that snowmobile, stomped on the throttle, so that it dug down into the snow, and sprayed me right in the face with all kinds of muck. He assured me it was totally accidental.

Honestly, if you want your partner to enjoy your love of the great outdoors, the way to do it is to choose activities that don’t have a high perceived risk. For instance, many indoor rock climbing facilities harness the participants in such a way that if they slip, the harness keeps them from falling to the ground. The thrill can still be there for less risky activities. And it is often a great stepping stone for moving onto higher risk thrills.

A propensity for taking chances — or not — is part of a person’s traits. As mentioned previously, some people are naturally prone to taking big chances while others would never conceive of doing such things. However, we all have the ability to push ourselves past our own limits. Often, this is accomplished with the help of friends who are thrill seekers themselves. Since they have experience in various thrill-seeking activities and are still alive to talk about it, you may feel more at ease trying the activities out for yourself when those friends are with you. They can also answer any questions you have about the activities that you may not be clear on.

Whether you will ever make it to daredevil status — and whether you should — depends on several factors, including your own personality. But consider pushing yourself to a place where you take chances that you would not normally take. It can be the thrill of a lifetime! And no, I won’t be going skydiving!

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