The Fred Flintstone Factor
There was always one memory from Hawaii that stuck with me and it made me feel pretty good. We had been living in an apartment complex at the time, though I couldn’t tell you where anymore (we moved so many times that each place has become like one major blur over the years.) The groundskeeper at this particular apartment complex used to hang out with all of the kids in the community.
One day he invited a bunch of us up to a waterfall. It was a good hike through the woods to get there, but we were young and energetic and gung-ho. Five or six of us made the five mile hike and when we broke through the clearing, we watched these older kids and young adults jumping from the waterfall, screaming and laughing all the way down, until they hit the water, this narrow pool of water maybe fifteen feet wide by fifteen feet long.
This groundskeeper bet me a Big Mac at McDonald’s that we wouldn’t jump from the top. When you’re a kid, everything looks much taller, higher, or bigger. That waterfall might as well have been on the moon for as high as it looked. But a Big Mac to me, with parents who had no money, was like gold. I set my sights on that waterfall and climbed my way to the top.
I didn’t take too long, because I knew that if I thought about it too much, I would probably back out. I just ran and jumped as far out as I could. I was not able to see the water from where I was, because the edge of the cliff stuck out about 10 feet. However, I heard someone yell from the bottom, you have to jump out as far as you can, so you don’t hit the rocks. I had to trust what he was saying was true, if not… Well I may not be here today.
When my ten-year-old self took that leap, I remember a sudden moment of complete and utter terror. Suspended animation as I looked down and saw nothing for the longest time. My arms waved and my hands grasped for anything to hold onto, talk about give it your all, your committed at that point buddy but there was nothing there. I plummeted for what must have been ten years and then hit the water.
If you’ve ever jumped from a considerable height into water, then you know that if you don’t protect your arms, or your feet, the impact can give you a nice red whelps. I smacked that water hard, and the pain hit me before my head broke the surface again. The image I thought of was when Fred Flintstone would hit the water and just sit there on top for a little while, then start sinking. That’s how it felt. But I didn’t care. I had earned my Big Mac. I was going to savor it.
This was a moment of trusting someone else for what was right for me paid off. Someone else had a better perspective than I did. I listened and moved on what I heard.
Is there an area in your life where you need to trust someone else and just take a leap?
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