Rule #56. Reach.
I recently took a part time job as something of a handyman. I’m helping to renovate a rental property, something I’ve never done before. I’m not afraid of tools, work, or getting dirty, but I’ve never had the opportunity to work on a construction project like this. I’ve always wanted to; I like working with my hands, and Clarissa and I have tossed around the idea of buying an old farmhouse in the future. So despite the fact that I’m no expert, I said yes and jumped at the opportunity. I’m having to learn a lot as I go, but that’s okay. Sometimes to achieve our goals, we have to commit to things we’re not certain about and figure things out along the way.
Sometimes we have to reach.
We have to stretch ourselves beyond what we know we’re capable of, and reach into the unknown, trusting that we have the resourcefulness to work it out. We have to reach outside of our comfort zone, and get our hands dirty. Sometimes this is the only way we can learn.
Sometimes it’s hard, or scary. I spent the majority of my life being afraid that I wasn’t capable of doing whatever was coming next in my life. From grade school to grad school, I’ve worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it. Each and every time, I’ve worked it out. I’ve never known how to do a job when I started it, but I worked it out.
We can’t stagnate just because we don’t know everything.
Because you’ll never know everything. No one does, and truth be told, no one expects you to. Sure, new employers, coaches, trainers, or significant others expect you to have some sort of knowledge and experience, but more importantly, they want you to know how to work the problem. Demonstrate your resourcefulness and willingness to use it, and things will usually work out.
All of my accomplishments began in uncertainty.
That’s why I continue to reach beyond my current abilities. It forces me to learn, grow, and improve. Obviously, there is such a thing as stretching too much; don’t lie on your resume, don’t bite off way more than you can chew, and don’t get in way over your head. But don’t let uncertainty keep you standing in the same spot either. Go beyond what you can currently do by reaching for a better job, a heavier weight, a longer race.
After all, how will you ever figure out what you can do if you don’t try what you think you can’t?
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a more adventurous life.