When I was young, my dad decided to teach me how to swim.
Now, there are many ways to go about this. He could have enrolled me in swimming lessons. He could have bought some floaties and a life vest. He could have eased me into it by blowing bubbles and dangling my toes in the water.
So which of these did he do?
None of them.
He took me down to the river and after splashing around a bit, took me by the waist and tossed me into the deep water.
“Now, swim back to me! You can do it! I’m right here!”
Water over my head. Water in my nose. Toes scraping gravel. My arms flailed. I pushed off the bottom.
Sink or swim. Do or die. Succeed or fail.
Choices are all around us. Every single day that goes by, you’re forced to make decisions. There are the easy choices, like what do you want for breakfast? What color shirt will you wear today? What radio station will you listen to on the way to work?
But then there are choices that grasp at your heart, pulling it in every direction. We make lists of pros and cons, talk to our friends and family, and let the heaviness weigh on us day after day while we struggle to decide. We tread water. Valuable energy is expended while we stay in one place, thinking and deciding.
When it comes to difficult decisions, I can’t promise you any way to make those choices easier. But I can tell you how to let them affect your life less. Stop overthinking and just act. You don’t need to have everything perfectly planned out. Most of the time, those perfectly laid plans will change and evolve along the way anyway. The most important step is that first one.
So just jump. The water might be cold, it might be deep, and maybe you can’t see the bottom, but that’s okay. Trust your survival instinct. Nine times out of ten, your heart already knows the way.