When you hear the word dare, perhaps you think back to the childhood game of “I dare you, I double dare you!” where you are challenged by friends and playmates to do something ridiculous. In our youth, we are overflowing with confidence, so we typically have no hesitation to try something new, or unknown.
As we age, we learn that unknown paths lead to uncomfortable places. One by one, we begin to no longer dare, to no longer take the grassy path. Rather we stick to the well beaten paths of our lives, of our choices, and of our habits.
But as we surrender to the familiar, we begin to circle in a fishbowl of our own making – a fishbowl of a smaller and smaller circumference where we circle among familiar tasks and faces.
This world moves constantly into unfamiliar settings. As we circle in the familiar, we antiquate ourselves. We remove ourselves from the changes, and the new experiences, that are so vital to our careers and to our lives.
Recently, I was tasked with moving from Anchorage, Alaska to Spokane Washington. I was familiar with flying, and my first gut inclination was to simply pack a couple suitcases and fly, leaving my belongings to be packed and shipped separately. My wife and I have two dogs – one at an advanced age and one short snouted. Neither class has positive enough survival statistics in riding in the freight section of a commercial airplane. So I had to face this issue personally.
I had to dare. When I had travelled to Alaska, I had hoped to travel the Alaska Canada highway. After a week spent traversing the country, I ran out of time. Now, some seven years older, I had a second chance to visit that ALCAN. Older, and more prone to avoid unknown, I had to fight my instincts. Packing my 1999 suburban of 270k miles with belongings, provisions for two dogs and one man, I set out.
But life, much like my personal journey, can only be prepared for to a certain point. Much of life’s journey is built along the way. There are surprising adventures, thrilling memories to be enjoyed if you dare. There are dead ends as well, which simply require an admission and willingness to attempt a new method, sometimes built on the way.
Planning ahead is important, but flexibility and willingness to learn and grow is equally vital. Do you still dare? Do you dare to try something new, to go beyond your comfort zone? Do you dare to dine at a new restaurant, shop at a new store, even take a new route home on your commute? If you don’t, I double dare you to.