Do You Leap?

Many years ago we used to hike to a place called Chrystal pools.  It was a beautiful winding path up a valley near the coast not too far from where I grew up.  At the pool there was a spot where, those who dared would climb up and then leap of the 10 meter high rocky platform into the icy mountain pool.  A few times I would reach the top, quickly get a footing and then leap…  Heart in mouth and wind in my hair I would then plunge into the icy depths feeling invigorated and invincible.

Many times I also saw other people get to the top and start to hesitate – 10 minutes, 15, half an hour, an hour… Some people would eventually turn back and perhaps others would eventually take the leap feeling somewhat diminished as they did not do it as quickly or with as much flair as others.  I believe life is much the same.  Do you leap?

I challenge myself everyday (as far as possible) to keep on leaping.  I now also understand that leaping means discomfort – the discomfort is where the growth lies.  I challenge myself to keep asking if this is the best I can be?  I try and do the difficult things first and get it out of the way so that I can focus more energy on creating.  It is the boldness that shapes the next move; it is the game that becomes important; not winning as much.  It is about doing a quick check to see if it is OK and then jump into the great unknown.

Take the painting above (by Jackson Pollock) – when I look at it I see a history of leaping.  How can I use colour differently? – leap.  What is real? – leap.  Perhaps what I can do is as good, or better, than what is out there – leap.  What if what is acceptable is limiting? – Leap

As you perhaps know much of my time (when I am not listening to a good tune and typing this blog) is taken up by lecturing undergraduate students in the field of business.  As I sit here tonight I am reflecting on a day that I think will be the start of a significant next chapter in my life:  The greatest tragedy that I am currently encountering working with students is the realisation of how they have been robbed of the opportunity to think and learn for themselves.  For at least 12 years they have been told when to wake up, eat breakfast, go to class, take a break and go home.  In this also lies the greatest opportunity.  The opportunity to work with students to help them reshape their future based on a deeper understanding of what learning actually is.  Learning is not in books (although they help) but in the world filled with opportunities to make mistakes.  In other words, opportunities to gain experience.

For about 12 years of schooling they have been programmed to wait to be told what to do, what is important, what to learn and what the correct answer is.  I understand that to get on in this world you need to be able to understand and apply 1+1=2, but much of our knowledge has to be questioned.  The ‘correct’ answer is as helpful in a changed and continuously changing world as a inflatable submarine.

There are an immense number of quotes by many renowned authors, which I won’t quote here, that help us understand that ultimately we learn by experimentation.  Go and have a look at these talks by Daniel Pink and Tom Wujec to understand the value of risking, exploration, fun… LEAPING!  Ultimately we are in a new world and new economy

We live in a society that tells us that we need insurance for our house, car, health, life, cat, dog…  We are not taught that you need to get into life, take leaps, experience the thrill of the cold water and even if you leap and it is not graceful, leap again.  I need to confront my fears because that is where true learning lies.  It is not in working harder and working the system with more intent.  This is not acceptable any more.  If I want to to truly live I need to step up, step out, and LEAP!  I ask again, do you leap?