Columnist Dave Barry says this about his father: "My dad ... he'd try anything -- carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing. From watching him, I learned a lesson that still applies to my life today: No matter how difficult a task may seem, if you're not afraid to try it, you can do it. And when you're done, it will leak."
I'm the King of Leaks. But at least his father tried. There's something to be said for taking a risk and going for it. I am convinced that one of the great necessities of life is courage.
We've heard it said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." But the motto of some of us is more like "Nothing ventured, nothing lost." How often are we so afraid to try to do something new or to go in a new direction that we never venture beyond the familiar?
"Better to be safe than sorry" has trapped too many unhappy people in a cocoon of their comfort zones.
What would you be doing with your life today if you had more courage yesterday? Where could you be tomorrow if you decide to take a reasonable risk today?
Humorist J. Upton Dickson once said he wanted to start a society called the "Dependent Order of Really Meek and Timid Souls." When you make an acrostic of the first letters of its name, you have the word "Doormats." According to Dickson, the Doormats could have an official insignia -- a yellow caution light. Their official motto might be: "The meek shall inherit the earth, if that's okay with everybody."
Fear. Is there anything so crippling to the spirit as fear? How might things be different if we acted with just a little more courage? After all, who doesn't feel fear? But the truth is that courage is not fearlessness; courage is deciding to act anyway.
Over the years I've enjoyed letters from some of our Life Support System family all around the world. One such friend wrote to me in response to an article and said, "I always say that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly! That way nothing scares me off. Try most anything." Once she was able to let go of the outcome and decided not to care about whether she succeeded or failed, she found the courage to jump in and try.
U.S.A. essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said it like this: "Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
Boldness is not the same as carelessness. And I have made plenty of mistakes in life. But I am quite sure that my bitterest memories come because I was afraid to act. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like today if I had been a little bolder, a little more daring, when opportunities showed themselves.
This last part of my life I will err on the side of boldness. And if I overstep, I can at least rest assured that I didn't squander whatever gifts I have because I was afraid to venture into the unknown.