There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.
As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.
This story from Stephen Elop’s infamous burning platform memo has always haunted me. I am not a risk taker. Nor am I the person who likes to play it safe. But I have come to enjoy the comforts that the surface offered me, working just enough to stay afloat. Not anymore. It’s time to take the plunge.
As I apply for education abroad, am I excited? I am scared. I am scared to leave all the comforts behind, to leave the place which has been my home for last 22 years, to leave my family, to leave my friends. This, much like the burning platform is taking a plunge into the unknown. And I am terrified. I am terrified that I won’t be able to live up to the standards. The places that I have applied to, they attract the best and brightest around the world.
He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire.
For far too long I have accepted the bare minimum, the mediocre. It’s time to apply myself. It’s time to see whether I am really as smart as I think I am. It’s time to live up to my dreams and surpass expectations. It is time to take the plunge.
And I am excited for the future. I hope you secured the harness. It is going to be a hell of a ride.