“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Despite the fact that it’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, this sage piece of advice was actually written by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary Schmich in an essay that went on to form the basis of Wear Sunscreen, a surprise number 1 hit in 1999. The single’s runaway success had nothing to do with its tune – little more than a beat and some dirgey backing vocals – and everything to do with the fact that the advice resonated.
I mean it’s a good idea right? And one that people who are into adventure sports will appreciate more than most. If you’ve ever climbed a route, dropped into a ramp or hit a kicker you’ll know that pushing yourself outside your comfort zone feels good. There’s the sense of achievement, but it’s not just that. If it was only all about novelty, then baking your first cupcake would give you the same buzz as catching your first wave. No, this is a particular feeling that you only get when you’ve done something that scares you a bit. When you’ve faced actual genuine fear and then gone and done it anyway.
“‘This is how I’m going to die. Here. Today. Now,’ he thought. Cool Runnings, this was not.”
Mike Brindley felt it first hand when he went lead climbing for the first time for this month’s issue, braving the sketchy slab of the south coast of Spain. Deputy Editor James Renhard also felt it after courageously (or should that be foolishly?) volunteering to ride down a bobsleigh run in an experimental prototype sled. “This is how I’m going to die. Here. Today. Now,” he thought. Cool Runnings, this was not. Yet he made it to the end in one piece, and the elation made the terror worthwhile.