Fearlessness – How Much is Too Much?

 
*NOTE: The fearlessness aspect of this article is actually derived from the Daily Prompt and not just an attempt to misdirect readers to another topic. This is based on a memory I had of a food challenge at a sushi restaurant that involved eating an entire roll that contained ghost chilies (the hottest pepper known to man). The cooks who prepared the rolls had to wear goggles because concocting it was dangerous, and most of the people who attempted to eat it ended up in the hospital, some in very bad shape. That’s what led me to pondering the boundaries of being bold, and it made me curious about where the line falls for other people.

 

Alright…

 

When I first read today’s Daily Prompt I was a little disappointed. The question was so simple and boring (sorry!) I thought I’d never come up with an article longer than 100 words. If I’d taken the straightforward approach this post would be drab, but after thinking on it a few minutes hours I think I’ve figured out how to answer this question in a fun way. What’s really nice is that the seemingly mundane Daily Prompt has now inspired a new series I’d like to start, known as How Much is Too Much. As you’ve probably guessed, this series will take a look at the extremes of certain actions in an attempt to understand what everyone feels in acceptable. Now, these articles will work best if a discussion actually ensues after it’s posted, so please feel free to drop a line with your perspective. Alright, enough chit-chat!

 

Today’s Daily Prompt is:

Ring of Fire

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

 

 My Answer

 

Here’s my cut-and-dry response to today’s question:

I absolutely love spices, so much so that Mexican cuisine is my all-time favorite ethnic food (the real Mexican food, not the Americanized stuff like Taco Bell), but there is a limit to my tolerance of it.

Now, Let’s Have Some Fun

 

The only other information I could add to that answer is the fact that I used to take down super spicy food with no problems, but now I can’t because of a medication I have to take that makes my tongue sensitive. Now I have trouble with ‘mild’ curry, and I had to switch to the mild Pace from the medium I used to adore. Do I miss being able to enjoy heat? Of course! But it isn’t worth going off my medications for it.

One of my favorite principles involves balance. There’s always an ebb and flow to everything in life, but nature holds evidence that all the components work together so they can eventually obtain harmony. A perfect example is ecosystems; as soon as you remove a certain type of animal or plant everything else in that area goes haywire, causing complete mayhem for those that remain.

Fearlessness can be a very handy attribute, and those who posses it are usually admired, but there’s a limit where it becomes ridiculous. And, of course, the opposite of fearlessness (cowardice, timidity) is just as unappealing at times. Everyone has their own opinion and their own boundaries when it comes to such behavior, so if you have a spare moment feel free to leave a comment with your own views on this topic.

 

Fearlessness

 

Being fearless usually means you have the strength to accomplish feats that most people would shy away from, but this edge can be misused. I can empathize a bit with thrill seekers, and some people think I’m a little nuts because I want to sky dive and bungee jump, but there are risks that even I won’t take.

For me, the line between reasonable fun and behaving like an idiot isn’t immediately apparent. Some feel that anything involving dangerous heights is too much, but some acts that look like a suicide attempt are actually safer than most think. I always try to look at the whole picture, which is why I wouldn’t cliff dive for a million dollars, but I’d love to go sky diving. Here’s how I compare them:

Cliff Jumping

Though some don’t realize it, cliff jumping is quite dangerous, even at a lower height. The only way you can know exactly how deep the water is and what may lay underneath the surface is by using gear to dive and explore that entire area. I’ve heard countless stories about people jumping off cliffs with perfect form only to run head-first into submerged cars and other detritus, effectively killing themselves. Another issue involves your nerves, which will try to restrain you. If the urge is strong enough it will slow you just enough to throw off you jump, causing you to end up too close to the face of the cliff. If there happens to be an outcropping below you it’s almost certain you’re going to break bones when you collide with it. The third large risk of cliff jumping is hitting the water at a skewed angle. Unless you’re on a prestigious diving team the chances are decent that you’ll end up swiveling mid-air by accident. The impact with the surface of the water could be so intense that it throws you into shock, and at the least you’ll probably get the wind knocked out of you or end up with that horrible stinging sensation associated with bad belly flops.

Sky Diving

The key to being safe when sky diving is choosing an instructor that has a solid amount of experience and a good track record, which is fairly easy to do now that the internet has opened new avenues for finding reviews and information. An experienced instructor packs the parachutes with infinite precision, taking as much time as needed to ensure that no snags will happen. Most even pack them, take them back out, and pack them again, just to be sure the job was executed perfectly. Though you can jump on your own, most instructors, as well as state laws, require you to tandem jump with them at least once before you go solo. This allows you to enjoy the ride without the worries of forgetting which cord to pull and when. It also reduces the chances of ending up in a tree or perilous location when landing because the instructor performs all the steering required. Though problems can still happen despite these safety measures the chances of dying are slim. Discovery News had this to say on the matter:

According to the United States Parachuting Association, there are an estimated 3 million jumps per year, and the fatality count is only 21 (for 2010). That’s a 0.0007% chance of dying from a skydive, compared to a 0.0167% chance of dying in a car accident (based on driving 10,000 miles). In layman’s terms, you are about 24 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a skydiving one.

 

Conclusion

 

For me, taking risks are an important facet of life, but that doesn’t mean you need to be stupid about it. In short, anyone who blithely runs into a dangerous situation without thinking about the consequences is going too far. Of course, there are cases where you have no choice, like getting attacked by an animal, but breaking your ankles because you jumped off your roof and missed the pool is too far. I wish I had a clear answer for you, but in this instance I have to evaluate every situation before I can decide whether I think it’s acceptable or not. Now, for the important part of this article:

 

Where do you think ‘too far’ falls?

In the next “How Much is Too Much” article we’ll take a look at the opposite of fearlessness: cowardice.

 

Other Notable Answers to Today’s Prompt:

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