The Florida State Psychology Department conducted a study last year on why some people have the sudden urge to jump from high places. After surveying 431 students, they concluded that what they named “high place phenomenon” was common, even among those who did not experience suicidal ideas or feelings. Instead, the study suggests those who suffer high place phenomenon may be reacting to internal clues that reaffirm their will to live.
At some point in our lives, we all experience the desire to jump from something. While many of us don’t identify with the urge to jump from a cliff, or a bridge, most of us understand the desire to jump from a lackluster job, or perhaps an unfulfilling relationship. Sometimes that urge to jump becomes so compelling we may choose to jump without a plan or concern for the consequences. We leap without a safety net.
Naturalist John Burroughs once said, “Leap, and the net will appear.” If we genuinely believe it’s time to leap from a job or relationship, for example, we may be reaffirming our will to live life in a way that aligns better with our individual needs, values, and expectations. When the desire to leap becomes so compelling we chose to leap without a safety net; we must trust the Universe to conspire to produce a net when the time is right.
Most of us are not afraid to leap when we believe it’s necessary to do so. The period of free falling we do while we are figuring out what we should do next is scary only because we do not know when, or if, a net will appear. What we fear, I think, is not the leap or the fall, but hitting the ground.
If we think the time is right to leap, then the time is right to leap. The fall may be frightening, but a net will appear. Although it may not be the net we had hoped for, or even imagined, there will always be a net.
The larger question is, will we be observant enough to see it?
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David Harkins is a business strategist, speaker, and teacher.
He is the founder and executive consultant at David Harkins Company. In his spare time, he writes hikes, explores, and creates art. Although, not necessarily in that order.
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