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The 3 Life Lessons I Learned While Zip Lining in a Caribbean Rainforest

In this exclusive book excerpt from Power Habits®: The New Science for Making Success Automatic®, bestselling author Noah St. John reveals the 3 choices that defined his life.

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Have you ever tried zip lining? If you haven’t, have you ever wanted to try zip lining?

In case you’ve never tried it, zip lining is an adventure sport where you strap yourself into a harness and go zooming through the air, suspended on a steel cable.

After that description, maybe you’re thinking, “I would NEVER try zip lining!”

Well, I’m a total nerd, while my wife is a total adventure junkie (so of course we match perfectly). Before our wedding, we were planning our honeymoon—I was blessed to be paying cash for our Caribbean cruise—when my bride-to-be says to me, “I know, let’s go zip lining!”

And I’m thinking, How can I get out of this?

But of course I didn’t want to look like a wimp to my bride-to-be, so I (with a great deal of hesitation) agreed.

On our honeymoon, I find myself on the island of St. Kitts, a stunningly beautiful gem in the middle of the Caribbean. However, because all I can think about is our upcoming zip lining adventure, I’m a nervous wreck.

We arrive at the zip lining location where three large, muscular men serve as our guides. They take us through a training process and give us harnesses and other gear. They also show us pictures of grandmothers and little kids who have done this—either as a way to calm us down, or to guilt us into not wimping out.

Then, they put our little zip lining group into a truck and drive us up a windy dirt road on the side of a mountain in the middle of a Caribbean rainforest.

My heart is pounding a mile a minute.

We go up, up, and up for what seems like forever…

Then pile out of the truck and climb up a set of wooden stairs to a small platform high up on the mountaintop.

One of the muscular guides straps on his gear, hooks onto the zip line, turns to us and says, “See you on the other side!” and suddenly…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip!

Off he goes off into infinity.

Gulp, says I.

Then the other guide turns to me and says, “Okay, you’re next.”

Me??, I’m thinking. Why do I have to go next?

However, I still don’t want to look like a coward in front of my new bride (even though I’m completely terrified), so I walk over to the edge of the platform and look down into infinity.

And I hear these words in my head:

We are definitely going to die.

I realize that in the next few seconds, I have three options that will define the rest of my life…

Option 1: Go back, because I’m too scared to move forward.

My first thought is to go back to where we came from, back to the safety of the truck, and back to my old life—because I don’t want to die.

Then I realize that going back is not really an option, because the truck we came up in has already left. Which means I would have to walk at least two miles down a windy dirt road on the side of a mountain in the middle of a Caribbean rainforest.

Which means I could get eaten by crocodiles, alligators, or whatever scary creatures are lurking in the jungle.

So I realize that the option to “go back” doesn’t actually exist.

Option 2: Stay right where I am.

My second thought is that I could stay right where I am, don’t move and don’t go forward—because, as previously noted, I don’t want to die.

Then I realize that staying where I am is not an option either, because how will I get down from the top of this mountain?

It’s not like they’re going to just leave me standing there like an idiot (even though that’s what I’d look like if I chose this option). And how will I face my new bride after wimping out like that?

So I realize that “staying where I am” is not really an option either.

Finally, I review my other, and only realistic, option…

Option 3: Face my fears and take a step forward.

As I’m standing there pondering my certain demise at the top of a mountain in the Caribbean rainforest, suddenly a new thought occurs to me:

Hey, wait a minute…that guide who went before me…he’s bigger than me…which means he weighs more than I do…and he didn’t die. So maybe I won’t die, either!

Then I remember the training process with those pictures little kids and grandmothers doing zip lining, and I think:

Are you really going to wimp out when people just like you weren’t afraid to do this, and THEY didn’t die?

So in that moment, I take a deep breath, and with my mind still screaming, We’re going to die!, take that one step into infinity, and

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

It’s so fun, so exhilarating, I can’t wait to do it again!

Here’s a picture of me and my wife after I took ACTION in the face
of fear:

Noah St. John & Babette St. John zip lining after Noah took ACTION in the face of fear!

In fact, I had such a great time that now, I lead zip lining adventures with my Platinum and VIP Coaching clients — where I coach entrepreneurs and executive teams to add 6-figures, 7-figures, and even 8-figures in less than 12 months without information overload.

The Moral of The Story

As I reveal in my new book Power Habits®: The New Science for Making Success Automatic®, your lizard brain’s main function is to keep you safe — that is, to make sure you don’t die.

Yet have you ever noticed that sometimes “playing it safe” can be the most DANGEROUS thing you can do?

Why? Because when you “play it safe” it means that not only will you miss out on life, you often won’t allow yourself to grow and experience the best that life has to offer.

So the next time you’re faced with a choice like I had on that zip line platform, realize that you too have those same three choices:

Option 1: Try to go back to the way things were. (Sadly, this isn’t possible.)

Option 2: Try to stay right where you are. (This isn’t actually possible, either.)

Option 3: Take ACTION even in the face of fear.

It’s true: As much as we would like to go back to the “good old days” or keep things from changing, those choices don’t actually exist; because not only can we not go back to the past, but also life is changing far too rapidly to think that we can keep change from occurring.

That’s why the only actual choice we have is to take ACTION, even in the face of fear.

And in this book, I show you exactly how to do just that.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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