Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Why You Should Live Life In Over Your Head

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Life can be like a Saturday afternoon at a swimming pool.

There are different options to “swim.” Most pools have an incredibly shallow end, a kiddie pool that averages 6 inches in depth.

And most have a deep end with a 3 meter high dive.

If you climb in the kiddie pool, you get wet. You can splash. You can blow bubbles. You can almost stick your entire head under the water.

When the day is over, your eyes sting with chlorine. By most definitions, it is swimming.

photo by Monik Markus

But the kiddie pool is designed to allow you both to swim and to be safe. The experience provides cautionary thrills.

In the deep end, there is nothing to keep you safe. This part of the pool is so deep, that it can be hard to even try to touch the bottom. The only way to stay afloat is to swim.

You will get wet. You will be completely immersed in water. Maybe even in over your head.

It is dangerous, but it is exhilarating. It is risky, but it is fun. It fills you with both excitement and fear.

In an article called “How to Change Your Life”, I recently read this quote from Julien Smith.

In over your head should be the state you are always reaching towards– not knowing entirely what you’re doing, having taken on too much, being too ambitious because you’ve made ridiculous promises . . .

Like the deep end, we can live life many different ways. We are still living. We are probably even enjoying it.

But there is so much more than a kiddie pool out there for us.

When we stay in the shallow end, keeping not just our heads but also the rest of our bodies above water, we miss out on this great experience of life.

  • Are you reaching out to something different? Or are you content to stay exactly where you are?
  • Are you trying anything new with the hope to learn and grow? Or are you happy putting your face in shallow water, blowing bubbles?
  • Do you take on more, maybe even struggling to get it all done? Or do you minimize your effort, saving room in your life for activities that do nothing good for anyone else but yourself?
  • Do you make ridiculous promises, and then keep them? Or do you sand bag, keeping other’s expectations low?

If you told your friends you went swimming last weekend and stayed in the kiddie pool the entire time, chances are, they would laugh.

I invite you to the deep end.

When it comes to living your own story, which side of the pool are you in? Tell us which pool you are in and what is like for you in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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21 Replies

  1. Great thoughts, Jeremy. In the women’s Bible Study I lead we did a Margaret Feinberg study not too long ago.  Your post reminded me of a quote  from that study. ” “God knows how to handle my biggest mistakes. When I jump into the deep
    end of the pool and land with a stinging, awkward flop, God still uses
    the splash for his glory.”

  2. Great quote. The goal is to get rid of any fear or apprehension based on worrying how we will perform. How well we do has nothing to do with how smooth our dive is, but everything to do with actually jumping in the pool.

  3. Mike Zserdin

    I’m in the deep end buddy…working to keep ridiculous promises. I’m in the deep end. But, I’m at peace. Crazy stuff happening here.

    Thanks for the exhortation…timely.


  4. Great thoughts, but I’d just like to add this: if you swim in the deep end with out some form of help, it is easy to drown. We all need some form of support. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto (and Silver). 

  5. Excellent thoughts Jeremy. It’s making me think about what I’m doing and where I’m at.

    One thing I’m now considering is “Am I staying in the kiddie pool with my blog and career?” Sure, I’m splashing around and posting content. But what else needs to be done to go deep and over my head? 

  6. Sounds like you’re going all in Mike. Awesome!

  7. Great quote and great thoughts here. Thanks!

  8. Lorna Faith

    Definitely feeling like I’m more and more in the deep end…over my head:) Thanks for the inspiring words Jeremy.

  9. One of the water parks we always visited growing up had a wave pool. It was set up like a chlorine beach with big waves at the deep end and small, trickles of waves would wash up on the concrete at the other end. As soon as the horn went off to signal the start of the waves, I headed for the deep end because the waves were always better there. The worst part was getting to the deep end, especially in the waves. It’s a struggle to get there, but once you’re there, it’s a fun-struggle. Although the destination is the best, it’s really all about the journey.


  10. I love how you extended this analogy. I agree that it is more about the journey than the destination. We find transformation on the best journeys.

  11. Glad to hear it, Lorna.

  12. Thanks for sharing, don.

  13. You can’t help but think that after reading, Platform. Can’t wait to see where it takes you.

  14. Being there by yourself may be dangerous, but it also isn’t as much fun. Life is better when do it with others. Thanks, Jim.

  15. You too bud! I’ve already enjoyed a ton of your content and if Platform is any indication of what can be done, you’re a rockstar waiting to happen!

  16. Thanks, Joe. I really appreciate your kind words.

  17. I love this metaphor. I’m starting to feel a little in over my head with life right now, so I guess I’m on the right track. Right about now, I’d welcome a little danger and risk.

  18. It’s a good place to be.

  19. The funny thing about being in over your head is that you feel like you are drowning. But when you come up for air, and your lungs are filled with life giving oxygen, you are more alive than you were before you jumped in.

  20. I’m always in over my head, don’t know any different; it’s who I am and my friends sometimes are troubled to understand the whole concept and how I manage to get through. You’re definitely right – it does feel like drowning, but when you come out there’s nothing like that feeling. Thanks Jeremy. 

  21. Isn’t it good? You’re welcome, Sophie.

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