InApril 2018, I had an unforgettable experience backpacking around the Philippines. I started in Cebu City, and worked my way around Palawan. It was, at that point in my life, my most memorable experience.
Full of new culture, people, language, food, you name it, and I experienced something new in relation to it.
In a previous post about my trip, I spoke about a few situations where I felt fearful
And… upon assessing the situations, realized the only reason I was nervous, hesitant, and all the other words we use that relates with “𝗙𝗘𝗔𝗥”, was because of the story I was making up in my mind.
There was no imminent danger or threat.
The thoughts, and story, came from a lack of understanding, assumptions, and to a degree, my own ignorance.
But I digress…
One thing that I was looking forward to on this trip was cliff diving. Seeing as how I loved skydiving, bungee jumping, and previous cliff jumps, I was ready to do it again, on the other side of the world.
I could already see me making a jump in my head!
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝘆 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗱𝗴𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗼𝘄
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗿𝗮𝗻 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗱𝗴𝗲…𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗷𝘂𝗺𝗽𝗲𝗱
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗲𝘇𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗻, 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗼𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿
𝗔𝗻𝗱… 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝘀𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘂𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗶𝗿, 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗵𝘀.
This experience, among many others, were high on my list.
About a week into my trip, I arrived in El Nido, which is known for its island hopping tours, and… in some areas,
Excited for a day of island hopping, we were met with heavy showers to start off the morning. Like the US postal service, rain or shine, we kept going, and I’m grateful we did. Because, as quickly as the showers showed up, they vanished.
With the sun out, clear blue water, and stunning rock formations all around us, it felt like paradise. It’s hard to describe the naturally beautiful scenery in Palawan.
After visiting multiple islands, there had not yet been an opportunity to climb and jump off a cliff, or rock formation.
Worry not, for my chance was coming.
The day carried on, and our guide told us it was time to head back to the main island, and of course, I was disappointed.
That was until…
We came across a gathering of two boats, next to a rock formation off to the side of the main strait.
Signaling to go check it out, we approached the other boats, and I could see that people were climbing a rock, and it appeared that they might be jumping off it.
Once we stopped, I dove into the water and swam towards the rock.
As I approached, I could see what was actually going on, multiple people climbing the sharp rocks to the top, debating with each other who would jump off, and then most of them turning around and climbing back down.
Be it ego, or my sense of “𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒” (likely some of both :)), I knew that I could make the jump.
As I approached the top, my hands scraped up and bleeding from the climb on the sharp rocks, I had my first glance over the ledge, and my body started responding in a way that it hadn’t during previous jumps.
𝗠𝘆 𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗹𝘆 𝘁𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱
𝗠𝘆 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝘀 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗱𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗸𝘀𝗮𝗻𝗱
𝗠𝘆 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗺𝘀, “𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗷𝘂𝗺𝗽 𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝘁”
And, my head was right. This jump was different from previous ones.
𝗔 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗮𝗰𝘁.
#1 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑔 𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑘 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑟𝑦𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒
#2 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑗𝑢𝑚𝑝 𝑜𝑓𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐 𝑠𝑝𝑜𝑡 𝑦𝑒𝑡
#3 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑑𝑔𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑓𝑎𝑟 𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑗𝑢𝑚𝑝 𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑘
As I drew nearer to the edge, and dragged my legs through the imaginary quicksand, I was unable to tell how far below the surface the rock actually was…
At this point, I did my own “𝒇𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕”.
In this situation, there was, staring me in the face, a potential threat, that, should my assumption about the depth of the rock be inaccurate, I would be in serious trouble.
We were miles away from a hospital, surgical team, or really any way of getting help, should I or anyone else get hurt.
What seemed like minutes of me standing on the rock, assessing, was really just a few seconds.
And the results?
I decided the cons associated with this jump, an actual jump, far outweighed the benefits, when taking into consideration all of the variables I mentioned.
In short, I decided, for the first time ever, to back down from a dive, or something considered “𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑘𝑦”. As I climbed back down, two things happened…
#𝟭 𝗜 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝗿𝘂𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗲𝗴𝗼, 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 “𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗽”
#𝟮 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝘂𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝗮𝘁, 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗜, 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝗶𝘁. 𝗛𝗲 𝗷𝘂𝗺𝗽𝗲𝗱.
And you know what?
He made it.
Kudos to him, because even at that point, my mind was made up.
That rock covered a larger area than that one guy. So, with my bruised ego and bloody hands, I made way back to the boat.
You know, looking back, I’m still glad I didn’t jump. Not just because of the potential risk, more as proof to myself that I’m able to assess my “leaps”, prior to, and in the moment. A skill that I’m grateful to have.
Not to mention, being able to let go of my ego a bit, which has gotten me in tight spots in the past.
I often hear conversations about 𝗙𝗘𝗔𝗥 in extremes. Either we…
𝗡𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗻, 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗴𝗼 𝘄𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗴.
𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗲𝘀, 𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗽𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt stated,
“𝐶𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑟𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑒𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟.”
And, I want to take this a step further, and breakdown the term “𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡”. That means we are considering the variables. We are looking at a specific decision, from multiple angles.
𝗪𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀
𝗪𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁
𝗪𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘀
𝗔𝗻𝗱… 𝘄𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗮 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘂𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗟𝗜𝗩𝗘𝗦!
To me, this assessment is the middle ground between hiding our way through this one life and looking back at it later in regret,
Taking blind leaps, that lead to pain and anguish, that may not be easily overcome.
Personally, I prefer the middle ground, like my cliff jumping story. Even though, I have certainly been one to hide away, leap blindly, and now more frequently, properly assess.
At the end of the day, my backing down from that rock was harder for me than I anticipated, but after I ran my assessed it, 𝗜 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗲. And that’s something only I can decide.