This is a reaction to a type of discussion that has been going among my friends and acquaintances, and that also is a typical discussion taking place everywhere. Am I talking about morals, politics or how to do the laundry? Nope, I’m talking about daring. Let me give a short background.
I’ve always been a nice boy. Actually, as a kid I was so nice that I wasn’t very noticeable. And I was a coward – I didn’t even dare to talk to new people. But I had fun anyway and I had my small collection of friends which I understood and which, hopefully, understood me. My first rebellion must have been when I decided to not compete for the title of being best in class in math, around 3rd grade in primary. Anyway, let’s skip the boring details and conclude that right up until recently, I have been the coward. Or maybe, the rational guy. Taking the safe choices, postponing hard decisions, relying on others.
But now I’m in Hong Kong, you say. Yep, that’s one of the big steps, one of the moments where I didn’t take the safe choice. The safe choice would have been to not apply, or to reject my application when I didn’t get my first choice of university (that was Seattle, and now I’m quite glad I didn’t go there). But something kept me going, and I’m proud and glad to say that that something was in me, not in somebody else. Actually, many people questioned why I should go to Hong Kong – “Are you sure you’re going?”. I’m very glad I dared this time (and the previous times I’ve dared – like dating Åsa 😉 ).
Recently the issue of daring came up when discussing going to Beijing over an extended weekend. Claes, my good travel friend and fellow Chalmers student, has a midterm exam right after that weekend that was suggested, and rejected going there. And then Amelie, our French mistress ;-), argued that one always should dare, otherwise nothing will happen. She argued that a couple of missed classes is nothing compared to missing a chance to go to Beijing. And I’m more or less prepared to support her argument.
If you take the safe choices you end up in a safe world, but with your dreams unfulfilled. And ultimately, you will be less experienced. By going to Hong Kong I’ve already stated that I can and will dare, but I always need to be reminded of this and keep pursuing this. Yes, I believe in this, and that is why I get so frustrated at people like me that don’t dare. I get so frustrated because I recently was one of them. Until recently, I would have supported them fully in taking the safe choice – at least I wouldn’t blame them for their choices. Now, I try to get them to see the light.
I’m not one of those dusty, in-the-ad guys with sun-bleached hair that has worked in a Tibetian monastery, swimmed with sharks in Micronesia and base jumped in the Cambodian jungle. I’m one of the safe-choosers, and I’m saying that sometimes you have to dare. No, what I’m actually saying is that everybody’s first principle should be to dare instead of not to dare. Then, sometimes you don’t have to dare, sometimes you want to take it easy or consider practical reasoning. But taking it safe should never be the leading prinicple.
And I hope that those safe-choosers reading this (you should know who you are) – please reconsider. You miss so much by not daring. However, I recognize the fact that some people are very firm in their belief of an ordered and safe personal world, and that some people are very happy with just staying at home and taking it easy. I respect that to 100%, however I will always hope that they will see the light. Some day. Amen.
And as a challenge to you still reading – comment on what you have dared recently. Let this be the proof that you want to get to know new things!