Those were the words of Denzel Washington in his commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011.
Don’t be afraid to fall. Don’t be afraid to go outside the box.
What he didn’t mention, was, if you’re going to go for it, if you’re going to take risks, make sure you have a parachute, or at least strong arms to catch you.
Who will be there to catch you?
I was thinking about that this morning after a friend asked me to remind them of the title of a book I’d quoted from several months ago as we were chatting about life and taking risks and getting so stuck in the groove you don’t realize it’s actually your comfort zone.
The book is, Warriors of the Heart by Daanan Perry.
I read it in the 80s and one analogy, in particular, has always stuck with me. Perry suggested that often in life, we feel like we’re on a trapeze, swinging back and forth. We get comfortable with the to and fro, finding the swing comforting. There’s no friction against our body and the air and forget, friction creates energy.
One day, we’re just swinging merrily along when suddenly, a new trapeze comes flying towards us.
What’s that? we wonder.
When we realize it’s a shiny, brand new trapeze…We have a choice.
Hang onto our comfortable ride, or, let go and reach for the new vision coming our way.
New opportunities are full of many possibilities. But… where we’re at is so easy and comfortable, why disturb the status quo?
It is in the letting go, Perry writes, that growth happens. In that moment of hanging suspended mid-flight, held up by nothing more than invisible threads of gravity, we experience true freedom.
You could fall. You could fly…
The wind is blowin’ fierce today.
The baby finches are safe in their nest. The mama and papa keep watch.
Soon, the young ones will fly free.
It’s a risk they must take to know the beauty of flight.
It’s a risk they will take because their mama and papa will be there to catch them.