This weekend, on the way back from a flea market, a bunch of us came across a farmer selling produce by the side of the road. The happy farmer was selling sweet corn, cantaloupe, and various types of peppers both sweet and hot. One of the hot peppers was of course the popular jalapeno, which my girlfriend immediately dared me to take a bite out of. When I was younger, I used to be able to eat jalapenos regularly. But over the years, I’ve become shamefully less bold about hot, spicy things like peppers.
Unfortunately for me, I made a promise to myself last week that I would try to become bolder in my life as part of the B.A.C.O.N. plan. So without hesitation, I took a big chomp down on the innocent little pepper. And, despite knowing the pain that was to come, I boldly continued chewing until my lips turned numb. We all laughed as tears fell slowly from my eyes, and I finally was able to swallow the chewed up pepper, which by now looked like it went through that chopping device that Vince Offer (The ShamWow! Guy) used to sell.
Trying to outdo my boldness, one of other people with us took “two bites” out of the pepper. And in a proud attempt to show off their gastro fortitude, as well as their tongue’s ability to ignore pain, they refused to acknowledge the intensity of the pepper. A few moments later, however, the heat started to kick in and the person was feeling the hurt. But not before we proclaimed that person the winner of the pepper challenge.
At this point, I had asked if their lips had become a numb as mine. They had said no, but complained that their throat was on fire now. I knew then that our newly dubbed pepper-munching machine was not truly as bold as I had original thought. It was obvious to me that the person simply swallowed the pepper after taking a bite. Not only that, but later, I had noticed that the person’s bites were far daintier than my bite-with-gusto. In essence, the person cheated themselves out of the bold adventure that I had subjected myself to.
So what did I learn from this experience? What similarities can we find in eating a pepper and solving a problem boldly? Well, if you want to be bold when tackling issues at work or at home, you must first step up and take hold of the problem like you would a hot spicy pepper. Now that you have the problem firmly in hand, don’t half heartedly nibble at it. Take a big hearty bite and savor the intricacies of issue. And even if it hurts, you need to keep moving forward and keep chewing at the problem until you can finish it.
All joking aside, true boldness does require this level of reckless abandon. You need guts to be bold! Holding back, even a little, could mean the difference between doing and not doing something. Say we are skydiving. Renting the plane, preparing the parachute, and opening the hatch doesn’t mean much if you don’t actually make the jump in the end. Boldness is about taking risks and moving forward. Don’t be afraid to test out something new. Offer up a silly idea. Try a different approach to see if it makes a difference.