Wisdom and Taking a Risk

My heart was beating so fast I thought it'd pop out of my chest. I was transfixed standing in back of the high-energy, full-throttle director in the TV control room : "In Five, Four, Three, Two, One. And ..WE..ARE..LIVE!"

It was the mid 70's and somehow I landed a producing job in Miami right out of college. And somehow, and for some reason I convinced my boss that I could put together a one hour, LIVE, broadcast on the (simple) problem of unemployment --complete with LIVE phone banks, experts and get this-- four, one act skits -- that I would write and direct. Me. Myself. I had never done any of the above before. Did I mention this was LIVE?

Ignorance is Bliss. Since I didn't know the risk, is that why I was willing to take the risk? Was it my youth and naiveté?

Would I have dared to pull this off ten years later, twenty, thirty...now?

I think I know the answer.

No.

Why not? I guess with maturity comes wisdom-- as in, "Wait a minute, I don't know what I'm doing. This could be a disaster, I could lose my job, no one would ever take me seriously." Right?

But as we get older, is wisdom a double-edged sword, a barricade holding us back from taking chances, from experiencing a high that comes from trying something new, different, a little scary?

I feel most alive when I take a chance -- but here's where the wisdom comes in: I don't have to go whole hog! Sometimes, just attempting a new project or activity out of my wheelhouse gives me that high. And I've seen this with my patients who are feeling either bored, sad or lethargic. When they try the unfamiliar--whether that's a class or volunteering or designing a website, more often than not, their spirits are rejuvenated.

In case you're wondering how my producing debut turned out: I don't remember. It was a blur. It flew by in what seemed like five minutes. My only memory is exhilaration. Everybody showed up, the phones worked, people called in and local actors volunteered their talent.

Even though I'm not too sharp on that evening's particulars, it did create a roadmap and gave me confidence to not necessarily fear the unknown. The payoff is worth it.

Getting out of our comfort zone has no expiration date.