Hi, my name is Stevie… And I’m a waterfall chaser.
I also don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to.
Now you might be all like “But TLC said ‘DON’T go chasing waterfalls!'”
Yes, they did. I love that song (90’s music has a special place it my heart), but I disagree with the message of the chorus…
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to”
I remember when it first hit me. My thought process went something like this… “Wait, so they’re telling me to stay in my comfort zone and never take risks? Fuck that.”
I get the meaning behind the verses; avoid the destructive aspects of life like violence, drugs, addiction and precarious sex. That makes sense, obviously. But the chorus is the antithesis of what I believe to be good advice.
If all you do is stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, you’ll be a slave to your comfort zones and live a life of lukewarm mediocrity. Nope, not for me. I’d rather explore.
Comfort Zones Are Worse Than Death
Always sticking to what you’re used to is not living, it’s just barely existing. When you stay in your comfort zones, you basically live the same day over and over again for 75 years and call it a life.
There is no learning in that; no exploration, adventure, mystery, fun, fulfillment, excitement or growth. Comfort zones stifle growth. Life without growth is just dying slowly.
Build a habit of stepping out of your comfort zones. You can even start with tiny steps, such as turning your shower cold for the last 30 seconds. With a cold shower there is no risk, a ton of health benefits and you build the muscle of leaving your comfort zone.
Show me someone who continuously leaves their comfort zones, and chances are they’re someone who finds courage, success, fulfillment, passion, excitement, personal growth and what it really means to live.
At the end of your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do as opposed to the things you did do. Build some momentum in the direction of new experiences and continuous growth.
Act In Spite of Fear
We all feel fear, especially when stepping into the unknown (exploring rivers and lakes we’re not used to). What separates the hero from the coward is taking action in the face of fear. Everyone feels fear, but the hero chooses to be courageous despite the fear.
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
– Brene Brown
Being courageous doesn’t mean being stupid or impulsive. It means not letting fear determine your decisions and taking calculated risks.
How do you build courage? Again, start with small steps. You don’t have to go climb a volcano and slay a dragon right off the bat.
One of the keys to truly living is building what I call “courage momentum.”
Here’s how you begin to build courage momentum. Notice things in life that make you slightly uncomfortable and take action when you feel that resistance.
Cold showers, like I mentioned before, are a great way to practice this. Another way is to say “hi” to people in public, even when you feel awkward. You can also try a new food or a new recipe. You can take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been. There are so many courageous micro-decisions that you can make each day.
If you practice small acts of courage daily, you will build unyielding courage before you know it. This is what I call “courage momentum.”
Follow Your Heart
The two main motivating forces are love and fear. Choose love over fear in every situation.
Fear is constriction and limitation. Love is expansion and growth. Fear is the essence of your ego. Love is the essence of your higher self.
Notice when your ego tries to run the show. Be aware when it attempts to manipulate your decisions based upon fear. Simple awareness robs the ego of its power and gives you the choice.
Don’t chase the desires of your ego. Don’t run from home out of fear. That’s how you end up like the sad stories TLC warned us about. Explore because you truly want to explore, and follow your heart.
Trust your intuition and make decisions out of love. Be courageous, not limited by fear.
Explore, learn and grow. Just remember to follow your heart, choosing love over fear, and you will discover beautiful new lands.
So here’s my perspective on the situation…
DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS.
– Stevie Wander
PS – Every picture in this post was taken by me, while chasing waterfalls.