Taking a leap is courageous, but to not look first, to not test the depth of the risk and be prepared for what’s ahead, is to give your life over to blind luck. Using good judgment is about leaping wisely, not blindly.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with having said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” To jump in with both feet has become a rallying cry of heroism, of carpe diem, of not creeping through life timidly, but to be bold and fearless. These are all admirable qualities, but, seriously, what’s the rush? Jumping into something with both feet originally meant that if you were going to take something on, you should commit to it fully, 100%. Don’t do a thing half-way or drive with the brakes on, as you might say. Yet, lost in the message somewhere over the years is the critical preliminary step of first evaluating what it is that you’re about to launch yourself into. This isn’t cowardly, it’s common sense.
So, why would you want to just skip the analysis and rush right in? Are you basing your decision on how you want things to be instead of how you know them to be? Do you rush in, because deep down inside you know that if you stop to think about it, you’ll talk yourself out of it or someone else will? Would that be so wrong? We’ve all heard the story about someone who took a leap of faith and landed successfully, but chances are there was more going on behind the scenes than gets revealed in the story. There’s an element of luck at play in any risk you may take, but, as Thomas Jefferson once said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Unless you’re in an emergency situation where someone’s life is on the line if you don’t act quickly, there is nothing heroic in being rash and foolhardy. Even professional firefighters don’t just rush in to save someone from a burning building. They spend their lives training and practicing and learning what it takes to do a rescue as safely as possible. They’ll jump in with both feet, but they know exactly where they’ll land and what to do once they get there, leaving as little as possible to chance.
So, before passion pushes you to jump in with both feet, ask yourself – Am I using passion as an excuse to act in denial? Am I committing myself fully to what I know lies ahead, or am I leaping off the edge of reason into a blind hope that things will turn out okay?