the arrow exercise

I Will Never Forget What This Waiver Taught Me

Years ago, I was asked to sign a waiver while I attended a seminar about the “Millionaire Mindset.” The seminar offered some excellent points. Success always begins with your mindset. There was one lesson, in particular, I will never forget.

Many personal development seminars include exercises. These exercises challenge participants to go past their comfort zone. If you go through with it, it is a breakthrough. It shows you that you can do more than you thought possible

As a scientist, I was new to these seminars back then. Adam, my fiancee (now husband), was in sales. Anthony Robbins and other personal development gurus frequently target sales organizations. They never come to our science company. LOL. 

One day, Adam calls me and tells me he signed us up for the “Unleash the power within” seminar with Anthony Robbins. What? Next thing you know, we are both walking on fire – yes, you read correctly, FIRE! The experience launched my personal development journey.

A little later, we attended another seminar. We climbed up a 30-foot pole. We shimmied our way to stand on the top of said pole that was barely wide enough for our feet. Then we jumped. Of course, we had a harness and a rope and all the safety gear. The fire had scared me. As a rock-climber, this one was actually easy for me. The only tense moment was to climb on the tiny top of the pole.

The Thought Of Doing This Exercise Scared Me!

Yet, in the Millionaire Mindset seminar, they talked about an exercise that scared me. Thou shall pair up. Each of you gets an arrow. One partner puts the blunt end of the arrow on their chest. The other partner puts the tip of the arrow right below your Adam’s apple (that is a pretty vulnerable spot on your throat, see picture above). The person with the arrow on their chest was supposed to walk toward their partner until the arrow broke! 

I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me?!?!” I had visions of the arrow piercing my throat and coming out the other side! At the least, I would get injured. Maybe I would lose my voice. I was beyond skeptical. And that was AFTER I had successfully walked on fire.

Then they passed out liability waivers. My fear intensified. Clearly, this exercise was indeed dangerous if I had to sign a waiver. Just as I thought. I was seriously considering declining to participate.

The Key Sentence That Turned My Fear Into Possibility

Then the facilitator said a sentence I will never forget. “Signing the waiver does not mean that you have to do this exercise. It just means we will give you the arrow.”

Oh. Was I afraid to sign the waiver? – No. 

Was I afraid to hold the arrow in my hands and look at it? – No. 

Was I afraid to do the exercise itself? – Yes.

I signed the waiver. The seminar people handed me the arrow. 

My Aha Moment

When they handed me my arrow, it looked nothing like what I had imagined. I had envisioned it to be an arrow with a sharp metal tip. The actual arrow was nothing like that. Its thin wooden shaft carried a blunt metal tip. Maybe this wasn’t so bad after all. 

Don’t get me wrong: It still was scary because who knew how much force it would take to break the shaft of that arrow. 

I did the exercise. The arrow broke without injuring my partner or myself. Not only did the arrow break – I had a breakthrough about how to make scary decisions: One little step at a time.

For me, the real lesson was: signing the waiver doesn’t mean you have to go through with the exercise. 

The Key Takeaway

  • We are often afraid to take the first step, not because we are afraid of the first step but one later on
  • We imagine a future step as scary because we don’t have a clear view of that step. 
  • We often assume the worst-case scenario. 

Yet, when you allow yourself to take a non-scary step, you have more information to understand the next step

Now, we can make a more well-educated decision. That very well may lead to a breakthrough.

I’m Curious

  • Which little step could you take to get a better view of a step that scares you?
  • When are you going to take that step?

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