Jumping Off Cliffs


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. -Steve Jobs

Mark E. Smith

At what points do you throw logic and reason and expert opinions and friendly advice into the wind and just believe in yourself? Everyone in the world can tell you that if you jump off of that proverbial cliff you’re going to die. Yet, you know something they don’t: You’ve jumped off of that cliff many times, and haven’t just survived, you’ve soared.

There’s a lot of value to following others’ advice, to not making the mistakes they’ve made. Yet, what about what you know, what about what you’ve learned, what about the power that your spirit has taught you, truths that others — more realistic, more grounded, with less vision — simply don’t know or understand? Maybe you have done the seemingly impossible, maybe you have seen fairy tales come true, maybe you have experienced what others will never understand is possible. Why let the ordinary dictate your life when you can live the extraordinary.

I look back on my own life, and if I had listened to anyone but my own potential, will, and heart, I wouldn’t be here, period. I was supposed to be a vegetable, with no cognitive skills. I was supposed to fail as among the first mainstream students. I was supposed to never have kids or career or live independently. I was never supposed to accomplish virtually everything I’ve accomplished. I’ve always been told that I’ll never succeed at this or that. But, every time I’ve found myself perched on a cliff, where everyone — following the rules of gravity, medicine, psychology, social norms — told me that I was destine for failure, I’ve just looked back, smiled a confident grin, and jumped, never hitting the ground but soaring.

Of course we, ourselves, can be our biggest roadblocks, where past disappointments and fears can keep us from making life-changing leaps of faith. I’m not going to apply for that job because I’ll never get it…. I’m not going to pursue that relationship because it’s just going to end in heartache…. I’m not going to follow my dream because it’s too unrealistic…. No, if we’re ever to achieve what we truly want and deserve, it requires us to make huge leaps of faith at times. We don’t know we can soar till we make the leap.

You’re going to find yourself at crossroads in life, perched on cliffs of decision, where everyone is going to give you advice, telling you it will never work, you’ll never succeed, you’re in denial, you’re destine for failure. Maybe you’ll even doubt yourself. But, if you simply trust that we all can accomplish the seemingly impossible, that fairy tales can come true, then you’re going to look back at the crowd, maybe even look at your own fears, smile a confident grin — because your heart and spirit know best — and you’re not just going to jump, you’re going to soar. All it takes is that one leap of faith to better your life forever.


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

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