Breakthroughs Require Big Action

The Warped Wall is a dangerous obstacle. It stands at least 14 feet tall and has no handholds. The successful way to overcome this wall involves first a fast run up to it, then with two or three steps to continue running vertically until it is safe to reach up for the top. Reaching the top allows for a strong-enough person to muscle their way up, but reaching for the top and missing, even by an inch, means falling at least 8 feet to the unforgiving ground. I wish I had a video of me accomplishing it to post here, but the truth is I have never done it successfully. My first day learning/practicing had me very close, but the ensuing fall resulted in large bruises on my back, palm, and hip. Ever since then, I have had a large (perhaps very legitimate) fear of getting hurt on the Warped Wall, and I’ve never come as close as I did before the minor injury. In truth, the only way I am ever going to be able to do the warped wall is to forget about the fear of an injury for a couple of seconds. Also in truth, doing it once likely would alleviate my fears for good. But, by keeping something in opposition, I am preventing myself from ever really having a chance of success.

Many of us do the same thing in many other aspects of life. I know I was this same way when it came to moving to Southern California. I almost moved once before, but upon coming out here, I suddenly remembered that moving here was going to require resigning from a job which I love, moving out of a place which I love, and proceeding with a very unclear destination for awhile. This created a bit of a panic, and I stayed. Later, when I finally decided to make the move, there was no guarantee it would work out. The only thing I had was a promise that what I was doing was the only way to possibly make the move happen. Staying would not have been the end of the world for me, it just wasn’t what I really wanted.

Many of us are like this with love. Maybe someone hurt us before and we are still tentative. Maybe we are comfortable with how we are alone and aren’t looking for a big change. Maybe we didn’t have great love role-models and are afraid of repeating their mistakes. The reasons/stories for this when it comes to love are numerous and diverse. Just like no one is going to force me to do the Warped Wall, no one is going to force you to try to fall in love. What can be promised, however, is that no love will happen without giving it a real chance. There will never be a perfect person standing there with an iron-clad guarantee that everything will always be great, and no hearts will ever be broken. There is only a potential partner who can at-best promise to make the same leap as you, and you can both hope it creates something lasting. Anything less than this vulnerable leap guarantees nothing more than a casual relationship, which is totally fine if it is what you want, but not if you want more.

Anytime you find yourself stuck, either wanting more or tired of a pattern, I highly recommend first identifying what it is you really want. Do you want to do this obstacle, or do you want a larger probability of not getting hurt? Do you want to move somewhere else, or do you just want to make minor changes where you are now? Do you want love, or do you want to continue to be in casual relationship(s)? Do you want a big breakthrough, or are minor tweaks enough? Neither answer to any such question is ever right or wrong, your answers just determine the type of action which is needed.

Breakthroughs require big action. These big actions often require risk, possible injury or hurt, and come with no promises of success. But if a breakthrough is what you really want, the only question is when you are going to go for it.

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