Yesterday, I was talking to a dear friend of mine who told me that he has been seeing a girl for a couple of weeks.
He explained how they are enjoying each other’s company and have a great time together but hadn’t dared to further define what they are actually doing, as both feared opening Pandora’s Box by sharing their feelings—because both have been hurt in the past.
However, when they were sitting on the grass in the park, they were approached by a child who wanted to play a little. The child suddenly asked them whether they “are in love.”
After a slightly embarrassed look into each other’s faces, they then had the open communication about how they were feeling—although both of them had feared this moment.
When he finished the story, I laughed hard and was thinking that the kid deserves a gold medal.
They needed the purity of a child’s question to open up about something so beautiful—love.
I am always amazed at how children have the gift to see right through things and ask questions fearlessly.
Each of us is a life architect who, in my view, often designs in too complex a manner. If we like someone, we should tell them. If we dislike something, we should state it.
We are not mind readers but grown-ups who should learn to articulate how and what we are feeling, even if it is not always the most comfortable or easiest thing to do.
But here is a catch: human beings like to play it safe. We are not exactly programmed to take chances. Think about it.
When was the last time you were actually encouraged to think big, to take a risk, to go ahead with something that just didn’t seem “logical?”
Another human problem is procrastination. There are numerous reasons why humans procrastinate, for example, to avoid dealing with a certain problem.
But I think there is also another form of procrastination. I mean things like, “I cannot ask whether we should go on a weekend trip. We only met a couple of weeks ago! It is just too early!”
Is this really your inner persuasion speaking or just a form of old-school society thinking of what “should” and “shouldn’t” be said at the early dating stage?
In my opinion, we shouldn’t procrastinate in saying kind things or speaking openly about what we are truly feeling. Permit yourself to speak from the heart and you’ll be surprised to see what you get in return.
I have never been much of a procrastinator. I like getting things done, no matter how uncomfortable they are. But one incident has intensified my discomfort of procrastination. The death of someone I held dear.
At the age of just 27, a life came to a sudden end. Besides my sadness, I remember thinking that there was so much that would never be seen, experienced, and said because it was saved for a later stage. I also replayed the last conversation we had in my head over and over, and felt that I would do anything to change my last words, if I only knew what was about to happen.
Certainly, life doesn’t always have to take such dramatic turns, but it reminded me that there may not be later and that we should be kinder to one another.
Playing it safe by staying in the comfort zone, only making a decision when we have all our facts, and by not taking any risks by speaking our heart, is the mindset most of us grew up with.
Over the last few years, I have been through some heavy turbulence in both business and my private life. At one point, my little plane even crashed, and I had to drag myself out of the remains of the machine that was called my life. It was messy. It was painful. It was hardcore.
But: It made me feel things that I didn’t even realize I hadn’t been feeling in a long time.
I felt myself. My needs. My hopes. My fears.
I have learnt that life is exciting. If I don’t know exactly what I am going to do next, it doesn’t frighten me anymore. It excites me, because I know deep down that I have it all worked out already. What is stored in my heart just hasn’t found its way up to my mouth to speak it out loud. And that’s okay. I don’t need to stress myself that I haven’t got everything figured out all the time. It will come to me.
And despite all of my downfalls (and trust me, I have had plenty of wounded knees), I am ready to be open to the unknown, as I am giving myself the permission to find and create something exciting that can take me to places I have never been before.
A key learning experience for me was the fact that I kept doing the same thing over and over again and actually expected to get a different result.
There are some who even argue that this behavioral trait is a component of the definition of insanity. If that is so, I believe we have all been insane at one point in our lives. For sure, I have been.
So, I sat down, looked at some of my typical behavioral traits and broke them into little pieces to understand how I would usually react to certain triggers. Trust me, this is not a Sunday-brunch kind of activity—and it can be brutal to reflect on oneself—but I knew it had to be done to move on.
I like comparing it to removing a plaster. Some do it slowly. I prefer to do it in one go.
Since then, I have often been asked, “Sarah, so how did you do it? How did you move forward to make changes in your life?”
I want to describe what is really needed, by quoting the words of former German goalkeeper and team captain, Oliver Kahn. When he was asked what his team needed to do after a defeat, he famously shouted into the camera: “Balls! We just need more balls!”
Well, I couldn’t agree more. I believe it takes not only the heart but also balls to step out of our comfort zones, to shift our mindsets, and to do things we have never done before—even if we cannot fully grasp it.
So, here is my advice to you: live a little.
Don’t overthink. You will never get it 100 percent right. And, how boring would it be if you did?
I wish you would dare to jump into the unknown as often as you spend time on findings excuses to back away from something.
Live life to the fullest. Take chances. Give that person who makes you smile a chance, even if not all of the boxes on your checklist may be ticked, and even if the timing seems all wrong.
Take on that project that scares the living hell out of you. Deliver that speech although you are terrified of public speaking. Dare to start a conversation that you would usually feel uncomfortable with.
Nothing less than your inner peace and happiness is at stake.
You cannot lose—it is impossible.
You can only gain experience and wisdom.
And seriously, what is the worst that can happen? You take the fall, get up, pat the dust off, adjust the crown on your head, and gracefully move the f*** on.
For the first time I understand Lewis Carroll when he said, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”