Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Will It Be Scary?

I've spent a lot of time reading in my life.

Reading is great. I owe my imagination, my love of writing, my obsession with punctuation and much more to all the reading I've done.

But reading is a solitary act, something I did while sitting in my room or lying on the couch. I would quietly read about the great things other people had done while other people were out doing still more.

I've said no to a lot of things in my life.

Perhaps without really knowing why, I'd say no to activities that I knew would make me feel uncomfortable. I'd rather stay sitting calmly than go for a vigorous run. I'd rather be content in my solitude than feel awkward talking to people I didn't know. I'd rather stay inside and be warm than go outside and be cold.

In my quest to always stay comfortable, I've missed out on many things. There are very few goals you can achieve by reading books; very few fears you can conquer by staying in your room.

At some point, I decided to find out what was on the other side of my hesitation. I asked myself:

What have I been missing out on by always saying no?

Will it be uncomfortable?

Will I feel awkward?

Will it be scary?

Yes, it will be all of those things.

Running into a near-freezing lake is uncomfortable. Meeting up with a bunch of people you only vaguely know from the Internet is awkward. And jumping out of a plane — even for the second time — is scary as hell.

But the most uncomfortable, awkward and scary experiences of my life have also been the greatest. They've been my most exhilarating and memorable accomplishments.

And they've left me hungry for more.

I said for a long time that I had no interest in ever running a marathon. Why would I want to put myself through 26.2 miles of torture?

I'll have about four-and-a-half hours to figure that out while I run the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in December.

I opted out of fundraising for the American Cancer Society when I signed up for a half-marathon. Why would I want to make other people (and myself!) uncomfortable by asking them for money?

Nearly $1,500 later, I've found plenty of good reasons.

I've never traveled to a different city by myself to spend three days with 500 people I don't know. Why would I want to go through all those awkward introductions and countless other weird situations that could arise?

I'll report back after this weekend's World Domination Summit.

The same criteria I formerly used to reject things is now the exact criteria I use to accept them. That's because the fourth question I ask myself is this:

Will it be worth it?

The answer has always been yes.


Photos are of the Constitution Climb, a 7.6-mile, 2,475-foot vertical climb bike race up Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island. The whole thing was steep, rainy and miserable — and Aaron absolutely killed it.


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