If you’re going to learn to swim, you just have to jump in the water.


The title of this post comes from my absolute favorite movie growing up, Flight of the Navigator. I watched it all the time, and at one point could probably recite the entire hour and a half of dialog from memory. These days, I still remember many bits and pieces, one of which was the advice the main character’s father gave to him in reference to talking to girls. I found the clip on youtube (skip to 5:30):

For some reason that has always stuck with me. Not so much as motivation to talk to women, though it’s helpful there, but just for life in general. If you want to do something, go do it. If you want to learn something, dive in. Don’t just stick your toes in to test the water, but jump into the deep end.

Thinking about starting a new business? Want to learn guitar? Want to lose 20 pounds? Want to ask out that cute girl (or guy!)? You just have to jump in the water.

Next month I’m headed to Japan for a couple of weeks, alone. Have I ever been to Japan? No. Do I speak the language? No. Traveled internationally alone before? No. I could let those things keep me from going, or I could just jump in the water and see what happens. Hopefully I can find some teenagers who speak english, and there won’t be a nuclear meltdown emergency, but either way I figure it’ll be an adventure.

Right now I’m on a plane heading to San Francisco. Why, you ask? Well, I have a startup company I’m trying to get off the ground, and there’s not much of a runway in Dallas. San Francisco and Silicon Valley are the meccas for the type of business I’m building, so instead of researching it on the internet I bought a plane ticket to go see for myself. It’s been pointed out to me that being single without children I should consider just moving there. It’s a valid point, so I’m taking a look.

It can always be a mistake to over-analyze things, to stay close to home, or to fear failure. I don’t recommend leaping before looking, but so long as there’s water in the pool (and there usually is), sometimes you have to stop watching and start jumping. You’ll either be glad you did, or always wonder what you missed.