Darren Hardy, the motivational guy who once edited Success magazine, has a daily mentoring video called, well, Darren Daily, and the other day he talked about the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where the story proceeds based on your choices at key moments. Life is a Choose Your Own Adventure, he said: Your choices determine your story, every day, all the time.
He was wearing a shirt that said “Straight Outta Lockdown,” and as Darren told the story about how the “Choose Your Own” author conceived the idea in the mid-1960s and pitched it on and off with mixed success until it finally became the best-selling kids series of the 1980s and 1990s, I found myself thinking about how this year we have all been encouraged to set aside our adventures, stay at home, and by doing so try to avoid the risk of spreading a potentially bad disease.
How risk-averse we have become, I thought, when not long ago we cheerfully dove into the world every morning even though, in the back of our minds, we knew we risked catching the flu or measles or an encounter with some idiot on the freeway.
And then, it hit me, the two words of encouragement that I think we all need to hear, the two words I offer you this moment:
Whatever choice faces you today, whatever positive action you’re contemplating that holds the potential to make your life and your loved ones’ lives better, whatever you’re anxious about but are pretty sure is the right thing to do …
Don’t be reckless, but don’t be overly timid either. You know what you ought to do, or you have a vague idea you ought to do something. If you know, start doing it. If you’re vague, start researching your alternatives. But start.
Every. Single. Choice. You. Make. Has. A. Risk.
Something might go wrong: Every superhero or supervillain origin story is about someone who tries something that goes horribly wrong. Your bold choice may not work after all, because it was either too bold or not bold enough. You could step off the cliff, expecting to build your wings on the way down, and discover you accidentally left your wing-building kit on the precipice.
But something might go right. Your life could change, as the Choose Your Adventure author learned when he pulled his rejected manuscript out of a drawer and shipped it to 10 more prospective publishers, and was rejected again by the first nine.
Something might go wrong if you don’t take action, too. No matter what you choose, it might be the wrong choice. But it might be a better choice than you can possible imagine.
So, go ahead. Pull your idea Straight Outta Lockdown and send it flying.