In 2004, Tim Fitzhigham thought it would be a good idea to take a bathtub across the English Channel, for the sole reason that no one had ever done it before. He successfully rowed his copper tub across the channel on the second try and raised funds for Comic Relief, a major charity based in the United Kingdom with a vision of a just world, free from poverty.
In 1984, Daryl Davis, a black musician, was playing a gig at an all-white venue in Maryland when he shared a drink with a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Through developing friendships with Klan members, he changed the perception of the Klan toward black people in all of Maryland. To this day, there is no firm hold of the Klan in Maryland due to his efforts.
In 2010, Clifton Truman Daniel (grandson of the president who okayed dropping nuclear bombs on Japan) courageously travelled with his family to Nagasaki, Japan, to meet with his friend, a man who had lost his sister in the bombings.
In 1980, Candy Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver. That year, she founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving and changed the entire country’s perception of drunk driving. Before her organization, which she started from her home, there were little to no legal or criminal consequences for driving drunk.
In 1997, a struggling-to-make-ends-meet-and-recently-divorced single mom named Joanne put her outline of a story into a book and got it to a publisher. She is better known as JK Rowling.
I have heard it said that depression is knowing that tomorrow will be exactly the same as today.
These people did not let every day be the same. They did not let struggles, barriers, racism, or even reason stop them from doing something new. These stories are all of everyday people who turned predictability into a glorious adventure.
Now maybe you do not have the luxury of taking a bathtub across the English Channel or traveling across the world, but your life, even if busy and seemingly mundane, is full of opportunities for risk—not the scary, dangerous kind of risk, but the life-giving kind of risk.
You eat lunch with a homeless man. You strike up a real conversation with the other moms or dads at the park. You say that encouraging word to your staff. You call that friend from college you have not spoken to in way too long. You buy daring ingredients and cook up a crazy meal to share with your family. You have a dance party with your kids. You hold off on those new shoes and eating out a few times and get to plan a weekend trip to the mountains. You rock out to your high school jams on the commute home. You pray for that person that popped into your head. You kiss your spouse like you did when you first met. You show up to that meet-up with the people you barely know even though it’s scary. You accept the offer to speak in front of 100 people. You pick up the guitar again, even though it’s been eight years since you have played. You quit your job and try it on your own. You ride your bike to work. You make macarons. You volunteer for that organization that desperately needs help. You make friends with refugees. You write that song. You say what you think when someone runs their mouth. You get out there and try to publish that book. You mentor that kid. You start that non-profit. You camp in the living room. You write that letter.
You see, every single day is filled with a thousand chances to take tiny risks, a thousand chances for something extraordinary.
And tiny risks are what make this whole thing fun.