I remember the first time I was on ice skates. A crisp Northern Ontario wind ripped across the rink and the sound of steel blades cutting and carving the ice were all around me.
It took me a while to find my balance. And then, success! I could stand in one place!
But I looked around and watched other people skating in circles around me and thought, “Ok, now I want to do that.”
So I went for it. I abandoned my new found balance and leaned forward. I pushed off with my right leg. My centre of gravity shifted. I tried pushing with my left leg and fell flat on my face.
But I got up and tried again.
Until finally I was the one skating circles around the newbies.
My point is that without leaning forward, giving up my balance, and falling over and over again, I would have never learned to skate. Sure, I could have maintained my balance and stood in one place on the ice until the cows came home, but I never would have gone anywhere.
The same idea applies to our lives. When you’re in balance you feel safe, secure, and stable. But there’s a problem. You’re not going anywhere. The only way to move forward is to lean into life and deliberately lose your balance.
I agree that stability offers us more control over our lives. But where’s the fun in that? How much fun would it have been if I were still standing in one spot on the ice watching all those people skate circles around me?
This Year of Fear is also causing me to lose my balance. It’s forcing me to do things that make me uncomfortable. Walking 400 kilometres in two weeks, sleeping in homemade igloos, and doing stand-up comedy are all pushing me off balance.
But this imbalance gives me the inspiration to write every week. Otherwise, what would I write about? The new mouse for my laptop I bought on sale yesterday? The ‘discussion’ I had at lunch with the restaurant owner who refused to give me salad with my chicken biryani even though he’s been giving me salad with my chicken biryani for six months?
Writing about my normal day-to-day stuff would get old, fast.
I want to entertain you and hopefully inspire you to reflect, change, and move forward with your life. And the only way to do that is to lose my own balance.
That’s why this week I’m asking you to lose your balance, with me.
Start a hobby you’ve been talking about for too long. Learn a new language. Read a book outside the genres that you usually read. Work on that side business idea you’ve had clunking around in your head. Renovate a room in your house. Eat a food you’ve never tried. Quit your soul-sucking job and find a new one. Go out for coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in forever but the last time you talked you had an argument.
There’s something we can all do to upset our balance. Sure, it might feel good to be stable, but is it bringing you anywhere new and exciting?
Don’t be satisfied with being a spectator and watching everyone else skate circles around you.
Like me, you might not see the point of why you’re upsetting your balance at first. You will get tired of falling. Sometimes the pain of failure and not being perfect will be heavy on your shoulders.
But make sure you keep getting back up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. Because eventually you will move forward.
Think about a time in the past that you lost your balance. Maybe you didn’t know where it would lead you, but now in hindsight it was the thing that allowed you to move forward and accomplish big change in your life. Do you have an experience like that?
Share your stories in the comments below!