Archive | 2:00 pm

Afraid To Take the Plunge

28 Mar


One of my favorite places when I was growing up was Surprise Lake.  It was located about ten miles from our home, and maybe three or four times each summer our family would drive to the lake, bring along a picnic lunch, and make a day of swimming and lazing in the sun.

From the beach there was a horseshoe-shaped dock, and maybe thirty feet from the dock there was a very large wooden float. Rising above that float was a wooden tower, and on that tower were three diving boards, one at ten feet in height, one at twenty-five feet, and one at fifty.

I was ten-years old when I first jumped off the ten-footer.  I was twelve-years old when I stepped off the twenty-five footer, but that fifty-foot board scared the hell out of me. When I was fifteen I climbed up to the top diving board.  My knees literally shook when I walked out on that diving board and looked down at the water.  I couldn’t do it.  Fear had paralyzed me. Eventually I sheepishly walked back to the ladder, climbed down, and joined my parents on the beach.

It’s too high, Dad,” I said as I sat down next to him.

“It’s pretty damned high, that’s for sure,” he said.  “There’s no shame in not jumping, son.  No shame at all.  But the thing is, that fear you were feeling, that doesn’t go away unless you face it.  There’s no way to talk yourself out of fear.  It’s not something you sit down and have a rational discussion with.  Something I learned about fear, over the years, is it will stay with you forever unless you laugh in its face and kick it in the balls. Plain and simple, Bill.”

The next summer I took the plunge from that fifty-footer.  I spent an entire year worrying about that jump and talking myself into taking it.


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” Eleanor Roosevelt

I can’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve known over the course of my lifetime who were afraid to try something new.  I saw it as a teacher and I see it today as a writer, and usually the fear is of failure.  What if I fail? What will people think of me? What will I think of myself?  What will happen if I take the risk and fall flat on my face?

I know this to be true, and I’m going to toss it out for you to consider: I’m sixty-eight years old, and my time on this planet is dwindling down.  I don’t have time for fear, and I don’t have time to waste being paralyzed by fear.  The worst that can happen, by trying, is nowhere near the worst that can happen by not trying.

Thus speaketh the old man!


Meet my new friend Dale…here is her website/blog, A Dalectable Life….I like her style and her outlook on life, and I’m pretty sure you will too.


Another friend of mine, Sydney Spence, just recently published a coloring book for young kids…

Hippo Henry and Friends….you can find it on Amazon by following this link.  It’s for a good cause, proceeds going to her local school, and community programs for kids, for much-needed supplies.  Sydney also has a website where all of her other books are listed and you can find that here.


Most of you who follow this are writers, so let me ask this of you: what are you afraid of doing? What is fear holding you back from?

Kick fear in the balls!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”