“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
– Ray Bradbury
A few years ago I attended a Public Speaking Workshop titled “How to Pick Speech Topics.” The presenter inspired me with one of his suggestions. He told me to imagine I had only a few days left to live – time to prepare for ONE more speech. Then he asked, “What subject do you feel so strongly about that you would invest the final moments of your life to deliver?”
That suggestion became the genesis for the material in Daring Ways. If I found out tomorrow that I had a terminal illness, what would I want to share with people before I passed? What messages could inspire and empower others to make their mark upon the world? My answers to these questions will be the content of this website.
Henry David Thoreau, in his essay Travel in Concord, wrote the following:
“The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.”
What path did you trod this morning? Do you always drive the same way to work or school? What did you have for dinner last night? Was it the same thing you had one week ago? Did you watch television again last night? Where are you going Friday night? Will it be the same place you went last Friday? Will you go anywhere? When is the last time you read a book, went hiking, or laced up some roller skates? What seat did you occupy during class? Was it the same as yesterday – and the day before, and the day before that? How deep have your ruts become?
Daring Ways is intended to help you avoid ruts. It will challenge you to create new and bold paths through a series of dares. Some will encourage you to become a participant more than a spectator in life – by taking chances and taking action. Others will challenge you to look around – to become aware of the people who have helped you get to where you are today and to where you are going in the future. It will dare you to open your eyes to people in need that you can help.
Some dares will challenge you to avoid the “ruts of conformity,” and to challenge the social norm. And possibly the biggest of all; a dare to face the greatest opponent you will meet in your lifetime. Forget about unfair bosses, difficult boyfriends/girlfriends, and annoying coworkers. Your toughest opponent – the one who will box you in a corner, limit your opportunities, and affect your attitude in the greatest way is none other than … You! Can you face up to this formidable opponent?
My dares will hoist you onto “the deck of the world.” I do not wish for you to take a cabin passage, or to go below … not now … not ever.
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P.S. Thanks to everyone who commented on this essay. I really appreciate the support and I hope to meet your expectations in future essays!