Out on a Limb

Suzanne Beecher, author of the Dear Reader book club wrote:

I think one of the best things that I’ve got going for me in life is that I’m willing to go out on a limb. It’s not that I’m never afraid to crawl out there, and admittedly, sometimes I have to hang on for dear life–but I’m willing to take the chance.

I whole heartedly agree with Suzanne. Thinking back, its very clear that my most rewarding experiences have been when I’ve taken chances on something new and uncertain or something that pushed the edges of my comfort envelope. I think the only path to personal growth is through placing yourself in challenging situations that you don’t initially feel comfortable with. In this regard, going out on a limb at times is critical to becoming a stronger person who is then able to reap the bounties that life has to offer.

So what does it take to go out on a limb? I’m sure there are some people who find it easy to spontaneously jump into a new situation or adventure. However, I have a hunch that even for these people there is a hidden readiness lurking in the backs of their minds. For me the recipe calls for four key ingredients:

  1. A positive and open attitude
  2. An imagination to dream up a plethora of possibilities
  3. Patience to wait for the right opportunity to present itself
  4. Gall, gut, and/or gumption to immediately act upon that opportunity

Its a lot like fishing really: lots of preparation and patience for that one bit of excitement when the big one finally comes along and takes you for a ride.

My last bit of major limb walking has been quite rewarding. It wasn’t easy for me to up and move across the country to live nearly 1000 miles from my closest existing acquaintance. The first couple of months were pretty shaky as I challenged myself to actively seek out new contacts, associates, and friends. After that exerience I now find myself to be more comfortable among groups of strangers and able to quickly make a new friend if I so desire. Being in a completely new environment also allows a fresh start which makes it easier to shake away old habits and try new things with less inhibition. This moment in time is exciting for me and I genuinely look forward to what each day will present before me!

Now excuse me while I pack my mental bags. I have a hunch the next opportunity is lurking just up ahead and around the corner.


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4 responses

  1. Ah fishing. I remember my first (and so far only) fishing trip. The first day I got really sea sick, and apparently the fishes liked whatever I threw up… The next day I took motion sickness pills; my line caught far less fishes.

    Good entry Scott, and I hope that attitude is contagious. We do sit pretty close to each other.

  2. Emily says:

    You have my utmost admiration, Scott, for accomplishing the Appalacian Trail hike! A good friend of mine is in the planning process to start this spring, so I’ve been learning about just what it takes to pull off such a feat….
    I don’t know that I’ll ever do it, but I have some challenging goals in mind for myself- like running a marathon someday!

  3. L. Claude says:

    I’m with Barry; I liked this entry and hope for the contagium, though I may have to rely on a computer virus to catch it. Instead of a system crasher, perhaps it could be a sort of virtual benificial bacteria, aiding me in the digestion of a rich life.

    I like the phrase “pack my mental bags”. Can I borrow it?

  4. scott says:

    I lay no claim to “packing mental bags”, as surely someone else coined the phrase prior to me. L. Claude, its all yours!

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