Walking the Plank
See, life is a wonderful adventure. And people who make the most of it-who have the most fun and get the most out of living-are those who have a high self-image. Their comfort zones make it possible for them to do just about anything. They may be a little less certain, like all of us, when they try something new. That’s normal. But their self-talk goes something like this, “I’m a little uneasy, because this is new. But isn’t this so much like me to be trying something new? To be expanding my horizons and taking a new risk? And you know what? Most of the time, I succeed! That’s just like me…”
People like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong-these people in the world have talent, but the thing that brings them the most success is that they have a really positive self-image. No matter what the challenge in their area is, they figure out how to get around it. They’re kind of like the Indiana Jones’ of the world. No matter what happens, no matter what the situation, they’re still moving toward the vision-toward finding that treasure. Life can throw obstacles in their way-pits and snakes and arrows-but, no matter what lies before them, the Indiana Jones’ of the world will try to figure out how to get around it. “It’s so like me to find a way out of an impossible situation like this…” they tell themselves. And then they do. They find the solution. That’s their self-image. They know how to win. They know how to believe in themselves.
If you raise your self-image, if you extend your comfort zone, you can find solutions too. You can do things you always thought were impossible before.
Just imagine yourself standing on the floor with a plank laid out on top of it. Say the plank is twelve inches wide and ten feet long.
If I asked you to walk down this plank, then turn around and come back, you’d say, “No problem.” In fact, I could even ask you to walk down the end of the plank, stand on one foot, touch your nose, then turn around and come back and you’d be fine with it.
But what if I raise that plank up thirty stories in the air, off the edge of a building. I call in expert engineers to secure it, so there’s no way it’s going to fall, and then I offer you a hundred dollars to walk out to the end of that plank, touch your nose, stand on one foot, then turn around and come back. Do you think you could do it? You’d probably tell me, “Not a chance!” It’s way out of your comfort zone.
You have all of the potential in the world to walk that plank. You even have experience, from walking it when it was on the floor. You could easily earn the hundred dollars. But your comfort zone holds you back. It tells you it’s unsafe to be thirty stories out on the end of a plank, on one leg, touching your nose.
It’s kind of like in life, I could stand here and tell you that you can change your self-image, your comfort zone. But if you don’t believe you can, it’s like being thirty stories up and looking at that plank. When all you have to do is this: Change your self-talk. By making a choice to change what you affirm, what you know to be true about yourself, you choose to change your life.