These past couple of weeks have really made me think about what drives us forward. Each of us is motivated for different reasons. I know that I am often motivated by failure and by pushing myself beyond a personal challenge. Others may be motivated by reward, peer-pressure, or acceptance, but no matter what it is, we are all driven by something.
Whenever I think about motivation, I always think of a story from my past that I simply will never forget. I will never forget the expression on my friend’s face as she stared down three stories of nothing, the cold water below almost taunting her. I will never forget how tightly she clung to the rock behind her as her toes peeked over the edge of the cliff. I will never forget how much she trembled, goose bumps forming on every inch of her greatly exposed skin. I will never forget the fear in her eyes as she looked back at me and then back down, taking deep, unsteady breaths. I will never forget how clumsily she leapt forward, soaring into the air, plunging into the still water with a gigantic splash. But above all else, I will never forget the joy that spread across her face as she surfaced, cheering and yelling for me to fallow.
Now I will admit, I was a little afraid that she would be hurt, killed, or worst of all, mad at me. You see, I had pushed my friend to do something she was not comfortable with. She has been scared of heights her whole life and I, being a natural borne risk-taker, do not understand the concept of being afraid of something like heights. I urged her time and time again to come cliff diving with me up in the mountains. I knew the spot well and reassured her that she would be totally safe. The thing is, I wasn’t totally sure that she would be safe. A lot can go wrong with cliff diving. You could hit a boulder hidden below the surface of the water, you could misjudge your step and fall down the cliff, you could even lose your bathing suit top, but I wasn’t going to tell her any of that. I wanted her to get over her fear and I wanted her to be better for it.
I believe in taking chances. I believe in trying new things and pushing yourself to uncomfortable limits everyday. I believe that life is for the living and we should therefore experience everything that we can before our time is up. I live by these rules and adhere to them religiously.
I have been told time and time again that I live life a little differently than the norm. I fallow somewhat of the beaten path but I tend to take a detour every once in a while. Because of my spontaneous, risk-filled nature I have been able to experience so many amazing things in my short 22 years on this Earth. I have been skydiving and Polar Plunging, I won a national cheerleading title and a statewide debate tournament, I learned to create websites and to bake bacon cupcakes, I drove a Ferrari through my college campus and crashed a jet ski into the side of a dock, I learned to strive for the best and to accept things as they are, but most of all, I have learned so much about who I am and what I can accomplish.
Taking chances is one of the best ways to learn a little bit more about who you are. You never know what you might have an undiscovered talent for until you go out and try something totally out of your norm. I therefore urge all of you to go out and try something new today. Believe in your potential. You will be amazed at what great things you can accomplish when you push yourself further than you ever thought possible.