Leap of Faith

The Leap of Faith: Why Taking Risks Can Be Worth It

a blog post by American Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre

If someone invited you to go sky-diving, would you go?  If you were offered a top corporate position in a field that was unfamiliar to you, would you accept the job?  Whether it’s a fear of heights, a fear of the dark, or a fear of public speaking, we have all experienced fear.

Perhaps the biggest fear for many of us is a fear of failure.

But if we never try, how will we know the outcome?  So many people worry about what will happen if they fail, that they lose sight of what could happen if they succeed.

When I was a little kid, my family would take a yearly road trip to a rustic getaway called Trinity Alps Resort in northern California.  We stayed in old wooden cabins, grilled freshly-caught fish, and swam in a swimming hole along the river.  There was a walking bridge that extended across the swimming hole, and older kids would jump off of it into the water below.  But there was only one spot that was deep enough to jump into.  Otherwise, you risked jumping into shallow water.

One summer, I was determined to try the jump.  I wasn’t completely comfortable with the idea at first, and I remembered hearing people scream as they jumped from high above.  But I also knew that when the jump was over, those kids would come up out of the water laughing and having a great time.

I asked my dad if he would do the jump with me, and he agreed.

As we walked out onto the bridge, I faintly heard the people swimming below.  The laughter that had sounded so close to me when I was swimming sounded muffled and distant from the bridge.  There was no way for me to see how high up we were – I was born blind.  All I could do was step off the bridge, trusting that I would land in the water and not on a rock.

My dad counted to three, and we jumped together.

The feeling of free-falling through the air was incredible.  I couldn’t fully enjoy it because I knew that at any moment we would hit the cold water.  But by the time we finally did, I was glad I had jumped.  As soon as I surfaced and caught my breath, I asked my dad if we could do it again.

In the same way that I was uncertain about jumping into a river I couldn’t see, I was uncertain about how to be successful as a blind person in the very visual entertainment industry.  Every step off of the metaphorical bridge stretching across my career was a chance to fail – but also a chance to succeed.  And although at times I did fail, with every success came more confidence to face the next challenge, and the next after that.

As the first-ever blind contestant on American Idol, one of the hardest things for me to do was to give a convincing performance in the group songs on elimination nights.  I could have decided to make it easier on myself and sit those numbers out, but I wanted to participate just like every other contestant.  But for me, it was more than learning dance steps and choreography.  I had to memorize the positions of numerous cameras and keep track of them mentally as they moved around the stage over the course of the song.  On top of all that, I had to rely on my memory and spatial awareness to make sure I was in the right place at the right time on stage.  One misstep and I could have ended up in the lap of someone sitting in the front row of the studio audience.

But because I took that risk, Idol producers and millions of viewers around the world were inspired to re-think what a blind person is capable of doing.

I have to wonder though – would I have chosen to audition for Idol in the first place if I hadn’t decided to jump off the bridge in Trinity Alps?  Fear is fear, and the way in which I dealt with my ordinary fears was the same way I tackled extraordinary challenges.  In the end, we all have a choice: to let fear of what might happen keep us from reaching our goals and dreams, or to take a leap of faith into the unknown and learn as we go.  Fear of failure didn’t stop me from releasing my first CD at 11 years old.  It didn’t stop me from starting college at 14, or from living in London, England on my own as a blind person, or from asking a girl out without being able to drive a car, or from connecting with millions of television viewers even though I couldn’t see the cameras.  In every situation, I chose to step out in faith and trust that I would eventually succeed.

People who achieve their dreams are people who are not afraid to take risks.  And we will never know what we could have accomplished if we never put ourselves to the test.

———
Order Scott’s new book By Faith, Not By Sight and receive free music downloads, a 1-hour phone call with Scott, and even your own private concert.  Click here for all the details: http://macintyrebook.com/

Photo credit: ‘Jump’ by Big Stock

  • http://www.facebook.com/naam.smile Naam Smile

    Yes. Many people fear to go forward with something that they never do. I think nothing that people can’t do if they try by thier best. And I also when I’m young I fear to start anything but for now I not fear any problem that not appear now . Test and Try before surrender .

    • http://www.freedoctopdf.com/ Lucy Toretos

      Thank you blog writer, you did something that doesn’t happen often.

  • Ravi_mlb

    Now i get motivation from you to take risk and test myself.atleast i can see every detail of events from beginning to final outcome.i must go through all the experience and never disbelieve in myself.

  • http://www.bealertandmakenoeffort.com/ Ann

    Wow! Beautifully written, inspiring and true.

  • http://youroffshoreteam.com/ Hire A Virtual Assistant

    This is such an inspiring post. Yes we will never know WHAT until we tried.

  • Guru Eduardo

    Great article and reminder.   All of our greatest desires are to be found just outside of our comfort zone. 

  • http://hanofharmony.com/ The Vizier

     Hi Scott,

    Indeed the fear of failure is one of the biggest fears we can have.  The more we have at stake, the greater the fear of failure.  And the greater the fear, the less decisive our actions become and the more likely we will fail, thus making our fear a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It is true, if we do not try, we won’t know if we can succeed.  But here, we must give it our best shot and not make a half-hearted attempt that is likely to fail.  If so, it is as good as not trying.

    Instead, we must be willing to risk all and give our all.  We must be flexible and adaptable to change our approach if things are not yielding the results we want.  Only then can we hope to succeed.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

  • http://willilearn.com/ William

    Fear of failure is the worst. It just stops us from doing anything that is worth doing. Personally I love jumping off a things(your never too old I say) but the metaphorical jump is different. It is so hard when you feel you can lose so much. Still every now and again it is good to jump. 

  • Jereepetrie

    I must be the most fearful person I know. I’ve often thought that other people held me back in life, but I’m beginning to realise that it was my own fear that did that. I find it helpful sometimes to write down things that I’m afraid will happen – just spill my guts on paper about how I feel about a situation and what I imagine will come out of it in every gory detail, then look back on what I’ve written later on and see if things turned out the way I feared they would. It’s funny how many times  I’ve been so certain about how badly things will turn out – and been completely wrong.
           It’s so easy to get stuck in a nice little rut because you’re afraid of what will happen if you try something new. How hard it is to believe that everything will work out fine. But keeping a record really gives you proof that things can work out better than you expect, and give you the courage to take that leap.

  • Lirunpu

    i like this article. actually,my fear is failure during the speech of yesterday. but i did it.

  • http://www.youremotionalfreedom.com/ Ben

    Wow Scott, it is an inspration that you have been able to do so much more than alot of people while being blind. You have done an awesome job overcoming fear.

    As uncomfortable as fear is, the rush and the awesome feeling after it makes it all worth it!

    -Ben

  • Anonymous

    Great! Thank you to share.

  • nate

    honestly I am not motivated by your story,sorry to say, but I see that you were exposed to problems that required you to take risks. Not everyone has that or would want to. I know i would not, but then again the potential gains are great and at the same time i know that at some point this could all come crashing down unless you have another  option that you could fall back on but then some people are actually lose that second option. history has proved that although i cant think of any examples… also there are risks connected to more risks and eventually become overwhelming and slowly things collapse on itself   i don’t want to go through the pain associated with risk. the only thing i could do is something invigorating, that makes me forget all of these thoughts. the problem is non of those things you mentioned gets me heart racing accept for public speaking but i always studder, can’t keep the flow, feel awkward/nervous. again i am sorry for my negative comment.

  • http://crazyintrovert.blogspot.com/ ZeCrazyIntrovert

    Most of the things in my bucket list are risky. But what I’m most afraid of is that the list will only be a list.  A leap of faith in anything is really scary so thanks for reminding me to jump!

  • http://www.ofwnurse.net/ ofwnurse

    Robert Schuller once said,” Fear not that you might fail…Fear rather that you might never succeed if you never dare to try.”Sometimes we need to take some risks in order to grow and not swallowed up by life.  

  • http://www.furries-happyclub.com/ The Furries @ The Happy Club

    Feeling fear and especially fear of failure is a natural human thing.
    People who do things that are challenging also feel fear but they find something to help them conquer that fear or cope with it.
    We don’t believe that this is a matter of willpower or strength of character, rater it is a matter of wanting the reward bad enough, or having some other strong motivational feeling (guilt, frustration…).
    So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t face your fears.
    But it will reward or at least develop you as a human being if you fo challenge yourself at least a little bit now and then…

  • http://www.pristineperception.com/ Suzanne Jones

    I believe life has it’s chain of events. The reference you made to taking that jump relating to doing ‘Idol’ is very important, I think. If we dare look back at our life, we will often see, that without this, that wouldn’t have come to fruition. Not everything is a good memory either. It is because of hardships in my life that got me moving forward in certain areas, too.
    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  • Lberger

    Fear can be a great motivator if kept in your back pocket and not front and center. When I am feeling fearful, I often recognize that I am moving in the right direction. Its all about taking life leaps, like you did when you jumped into the river.  You were not sure what to expect, and did it anyway. Feeling refreshed and ready to do it again!  Thanks for the inspirations.
    much gratitude,
    Laura Berger
    http://www.lifeleapsprogram.com

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  • http://www.motivation.net.au/quotes/love-quotes Quotes Love

    I like the way you explained about “The Leap of Faith: Why Taking Risks Can Be Worth It”. I agree totally, and
    couldn’t have worded it better myself. Thanks.
     

  • http://www.self-esteem-tips.com/ Self Esteem Tips

    I’ve added your feed in order to check out additional posts of yours. Looking forward to more posts on subject.

  • http://www.self-esteem-tips.com/ Self Esteem Tips

    I’ve added your feed in order to check out additional posts of yours. Looking forward to more posts on subject. 

  • http://www.marijuana-seeds-online.net/ Will Wanht

    I love reading this article Scott, hope to read from you soon. 

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