You know this feeling, the pending question of sticky dread, warning alarms going off when you’re doing something so out of the designated lines that the part of you yearning for safety inevitably tries to stop you in your tracks and make you listen for just a few seconds to ask you what exactly is it you think you’re doing here. But you never feel more alive than when you take a risk, now do you?
It’s a strange experience to be human, to live within this skin and this body so much a part of nature yet equipped by brains and capabilities that can accomplish bending nature to our own will. It seems we’re made up completely out of opposites and dichotomies and how to reconcile all of them within one single package is baffling. It’s a lifelong thing to figure this out. If everything is comfortable and predictable we become bored so fast that the destructive impulse to break something just so we would have a challenge of fixing it and putting it back together pops up. Complete certainty bores the hell out of us for a reason – there is no growth and no advancement in a completely familiar territory that doesn’t push your limits, yet we need some structure to stay sane and be able to conceptualize the world. We seek danger willingly and undertake uncertain tasks, the more challenging the task, the more unsure the outcome the greater the emotional reward and motivation to work for it. We need to be stupid sometimes to know we’re alive and in the diver seat of our story. All of the stupid things need to be lived through first before we come to the final solution with all the micro lessons picked up through the screw ups. If there were no fools first there would be no masters either.
So when you’re standing so close to the edge of all of the known safety and are preparing to jump into the unknown are you brave or stupid? Probably both, and probably neither because you’re playing out the necessary risk game to grow, and if you get better for having done this the whole community gets better as well. If you were an animal fighting for survival nature would punish your brave stupidity in an instant by whipping you out of the gene pool and redistributing the resources. You cannot graze on the meadow when predators are awake and lurking, even if the food is more plentiful without having to compete with everyone else from the heard. But as human we have more or less visible social safety nets all around us that will compensate and annul some of the stupidity in our bravery. For the biggest things you’ll just need to be a bit stupid and not have enough information to discourage your try. If you don’t know enough you don’t know what is not possible and go about the solutions so differently that it just might work. So you’ll take the chance, just as all of your ancestors before you. You’ll get a reward or a lesson, or you’ll die trying if it was stupid enough.
The rule of thumb is – step in and stop the stupidity if it has potential to kill the body. If the only risk is sacrificing some emotional toll, resources, time, energy and effort let it play out. There are valuable things on the other side of that even if it fails. Become less stupid and naive as you go forward but keep the brave part burning.