The unknown can be a scary, but there is a first time for everything. Just look at a baby. Their first steps, their first words, and a zillion other firsts that happen before they reached the age of five. You’d think after a beginning so practiced in trying new things our desire to branch out would continue, but something terrible happens. We begin to look to others, worried about how we are view by them—a fear of looking foolish. When I was about eight-years-old this fear actually worked in my favor.
I loved amusement parks, but I avoided the big roller coasters. I had long surpassed the height requirement, but could never bring myself to even try. The loops and drops I saw were huge. What if I freaked out at the front of the line, or worse, threw up? No, no, it was better for me to stay away from them than find out. I was fine with my decision, until my youngest uncle came to the amusement park with my family. He is only about a year older than me, and at the time, I thought of him as infinitely cooler.
The first thing he did when the park opened was get in the line of the biggest coaster. Of course I followed; I couldn’t have him thinking I was too immature to hang out with. My heart pounded as the line inched closer and closer to the front.
Be cool, be cool, I kept repeating in my mind.
When the time came, I blindly followed into the seat next to him.
Be cool, be cool.
That day, my fingers hurt from clutching the handle bar in front of me, but I didn’t die, or throw up. In fact, I discovered I was a closet thrill-junky. Now there isn’t a roller coaster in the world I won’t try. I’ve even ridden ones so fast and steep I almost passed out by the G-forces.
So yeah, it probably is true; if you never try you’ll never look foolish. But there’s a good chance you’ll never achieve anything worthwhile either.