Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Sit Down! You’re Rocking the Boat!

Have you ever noticed that tiny little voice in your head that starts to panic the moment you edge closer to something new? A thought, a project, an adventure – it doesn’t matter. That little voice suddenly gets very loud!

I blame the survival instinct. It is human nature to want to protect ourselves. And our little voice can’t tell the difference between a real danger and one that merely stems from the fear of trying something new. Subconsciously, we have learned to trust that voice and avoid possible danger.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always know what is best for us.

In the case of dark, sketchy alleyways in the dead of night? Hmmm, yes, think twice before venturing there alone.
In the case of auditioning for the series Naked and Afraid? It probably has your best interest at heart.
In the case of wild hungry bears, yes. Listen and run!

But in the case of trying something new? Putting yourself out there in new ways? Going in a different direction? Don’t listen to it! Don’t fall for the tried and true and safe. Don’t be afraid to alter your course.

This is the voice that says it won’t work. Why bother? You don’t have what it takes. And it is equally obnoxious when you can succeed as when you can fail. It may even get a little louder when you chance of success draws near. After all, everyone fails, right? But who are you to succeed?!

Mark Twain said,

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed
by the things you did not do than by the things you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor.
Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Sadly, this has now started to appear in car commercials, but the feeling is the same. This quote has been taped on my desk for years. It reminds me that sometimes we don’t just need to stick a toe outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we need to run screaming towards it, arms flailing, and just crash right through that self-imposed barrier!


  1. AMEN! What a motivating post, Cheryl! Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, aren’t we? Yet I never feel more alive than when I risk doing something I fear and succeed at it—what an exhilarating feeling! You’re absolutely right: “Sometimes we need to run screaming towards it, arms flailing, and just crash right through that self-imposed barrier!”

    • Thanks, Candace! Sometimes we fear making ourselves look foolish. Sometimes we are afraid to fail. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is the fear of succeeding. The little voice tells us to just sit down and shut up. It is our job as creative humans to yell right back at the voices in our heads and do it anyway!

  2. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    This particularly applies to writing. How many times do we stop ourselves taking risks when we write?

    • Yes!! Getting out of my own way has always been my biggest block!

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