Nike’s slogan is probably the finest way to live life. Just Do It.
The world famous swish sign has always been a part of my life, but it’s ironic how the symbol has changed meaning through the course of my life. Growing up, “Just Do It” meant obtaining the latest and greatest Nike apparel or shoe to sport in school and a better slogan may very well have been “Just Buy It.”
However, in the past several years, just doing something has played an integral theme in my life. Many times, our fears and inhibitions generate too many excuses to say “no.” In essence, opportunities are lost and this is where regrets are born;
What if something happens to me? What if she says no? It’s too expensive…I don’t have enough money. Maybe I will do it later…
Hey, it’s happened to everybody. It’s human nature to question and doubt ourselves. Growing up in a very traditional Asian family, conservatism was bred in my blood. Asians do not take risks. We don’t do something unless it’s been done before or if it generates money. To put it metaphorically, we take the safe road by buying that Honda Civic versus that newly designed and sexy Hyundai Elantra. Actually that makes no sense at all. But this is my blog so who cares.
But we still have this inherent uneasiness about us when confronted with risky decisions…so how can you fix this problem? What I find most effective is jumping off of things, in particular, planes and high bridges. It may sound stupid and foolish, but I guarantee it will certainly help you live a fuller life.
For example, I’ve always been afraid of heights (believe it or not), which is completely contradictory given my adventure-seeking desires. However, I’ve always wanted to either skydive or bungee jump and have chickened out several times. I would hype myself up thinking about the elation of having done such an adrenaline-pumping sport but the more I thought about it, the more scared I became and thus, it never materialized. Such fruitless and superfluous thinking has caused so much regret in my life that it pissed me off. Then some time in the past year, I just told myself
So I jumped out of an airplane into the Namibian desert. It was the most intense experience ever (especially on an empty stomach) to dive into the barren desert. To be honest, it was quite painless, as I really did not think about it until minutes before jumping. And even then, in my head, I kept repeating “Just do it” to the slow, rhythmic breaths of my chest.
So jumping out of an airplane conquered my fear of heights right? Wrong. South Africa has the highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world (600ft+), and it seemed like most people I met on the road had done the jump…and loved it. Again, I hyped myself up but subconsciously psyched myself out of it thinking I’d do it another time with friends. I definitely have a weak bitch side, and it got the best of me. However, by fortune and fate, as I was prepared to leave towards Jeffreys Bay, I met the only other traveling Asian (Singapore) on the Baz Bus coincidentally named David, and he was going bungee jumping. I decided then and there to accept fate and spontaneously do the bungee jump with my twin.
In fact, the bungee jump place had a saying to inspire unsure guests that read something like,
I stepped onto the plank looking straight ahead into the open skies and mountain ranges, adjusted my GoPro, took a deep breath, and jumped into my fate. All anxieties were erased and worries about the past and future were non-existent as I leapt into nirvana. It was a sense of elation as I kept repeating to myself as I dangled in mid-air, “This is awesome! I can’t believe I did it!”
Some may view jumping out of a plane or off a bridge to be reserved solely for adventure seekers, but I think it has a deeper meaning than just generating spine-chilling thrills – for me, it meant conquering not just a fear of heights but ultimately, a fear of failure. The biggest fear was the anticipation and the nonsensical thinking. When you actually did it, it was a piece of cake and one of the most memorable experiences of my life.