The dark blue ocean pressed all around me, as I swam to the edge of the island in the Maldives. My father was close by, and we were both good swimmers. However, this was the first time I was swimming to the edge alone, where the white sand dropped away thousands of feet and the ocean floor was not visible.
There was nothing but endless water and mysterious shadows.
As always, I felt mortal terror press upon me, as I felt the utter vastness of the sea, and how insignificantly small I was compared to it. My mind helpfully reminded me of all the shark, giant squid and octopus attacks from all the movies I’d ever seen.
And then, it stopped. All the fear and nervousness disappeared.
All I could notice was how beautiful the sea was. The fish calmly swimming by, the coral fronds gently swirling and glimmering with light, a thousand exotic undersea creatures and fish, going about their business.
I realized that purposefully going into a feared area, taking a calculated risk, had taken me to a previously unimaginable place. A place of gentle calm and beauty. The dangers hadn’t disappeared, and the sea was still deep. But I had become more confident in my ability to deal with with the unknown.
And it’s a lesson I’ve applied to every fearful situation since. Whether it was travelling to a new place, making new friends.
Trust your instinct and go with it. Even bad experiences teach you important lessons!
Go ahead, and give it a try. Who knows what you might discover :)?