Is your safety net actually a drag chute?

21st annual California Hot Rod Reunion
21st annual California Hot Rod Reunion (Photo credit: ATOMIC Hot Links)

Over the last few weeks I have watched a few of the blogs I follow sign off for good. The authors were moving on to other day job challenges and no longer could put in the time to write. Considering one of my goals is to find a way to write more, their choice was somewhat puzzling to me, but I respect that they made the decision that worked best for their personal situation.

The Lonely Vacuum Of Space
The Lonely Vacuum Of Space (Photo credit: JD Hancock)

As I am often inspired by other bloggers and entrepreneurs, I found myself in a bit of an inspirational vacuum this week with their departure. I was going to have to take desperate measures. I decided to go for a jog hoping that might help get the creative juices flowing.

Not being a fan of the cold, I did not manage to stay in peak physical condition over the past winter. I found myself walking well before I reached my destination. I scolded myself. I told myself I was going to have to sprint to make up the time. I saw a stop sign in the distance and promised myself not to let up until I reached it.

Then my legs started to hurt and I thought to myself, well that’s close enough, it’s a nice day and there aren’t exactly bears chasing me. I’m still burning calories. I walked the rest of the way home.

But what if I there had been bears. Could I have made it to the stop sign, or would I have been lunch? Would I have found a way to suffer through the pain, or would I have rolled over and succumbed to the inevitable?

Sometimes I have to wonder if my safety net is actually working against me.

The Dark Knight Rises (1 of 2)
The Dark Knight Rises (1 of 2) (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

There is a scene in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne is stuck in a pit. He can escape anytime he wants, provided he can somehow scale the nearly unbroken vertical wall. He is even given a safety rope to keep him from plummeting to his death.  His captors are not entirely monsters after all. After several failures, Bruce Wayne decides to forgo the rope. This time he reaches the distant ledges and pulls himself out. Hurrah!

By tying the rope around his waist, he was subconsciously telling his brain that failure was an option. As a result his adrenalin didn’t spike to the necessary levels and his muscles didn’t propel him far enough.

I didn’t want to push my legs too hard as I wouldn’t have been able to walk home. My ability to walk home was my safety net and I wanted to protect it. However by doing so, I allowed myself to fail my original goal. Just like the chute that is deployed out of racing vehicles, my safety net held me back.

In this case the failure just hurt my pride. Abandoning my safety net in pursuit of a small personal goal wasn’t worth the risk. However for goals that really matter, failure should not be an option. Sometimes in order to get what you really want in life, you have to be willing to risk everything.



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