The two ways of jumping off the top board

There were two ways to jump from the top board at our local swimming pool when I was a kid.

The first was to race up the ladder and leap straight off.

The second involved considerably more caution and a degree of leg-trembling hesitation before taking your heart in your mouth and gingerly stepping off.


I definitely fell into the second group, and was reminded of this when, two days ago, I clicked a button on my laptop to send the files for “Nudge Your Way to Happiness” to the printer.

It felt like it had taken forever for my brother Geoff and I to assemble the book’s pages.

There was always yet another glaring error you kicked yourself for missing the last time you’d proofread it.

But eventually on Friday evening I decided it had to be good to go, so I stepped up to the edge of the board and…


Soon after I moved to Silicon Valley in 2013 I went to a meeting at Facebook’s headquarters.

The company in those days was famous for its bold typographic motivational posters which were produced in-house on an old letterpress printing machine.

One memorably said “Done is better than perfect,” encouraging people to “ship” rather than perpetually procrastinate in the impossible search for perfection.

And I thought of this, and jumping from the top board when I clicked that button to send the file.

I’ll get a bound, printed proof on Tuesday, and if all looks good, it will go on sale pretty quickly – within just days actually.

Details of how to get the book will follow very soon.

So how did it feel to jump?

Pretty amazing really.

And when I was down in the water?

How was that?

Well, I wondered why I’d been so wary about jumping in the first place.

So if you’ve been thinking about doing something but for one reason or another have kept putting it off, perhaps now’s the time to take that leap into the unknown.

For as another of those lovely Facebook posters said: “Fortune favours the bold”.

3 thoughts on “The two ways of jumping off the top board

  1. I absolutely love this post. I have been putting something, that is a pretty big deal to me, off due to fear of failure or managing to cope. Sometimes things like your email are like a sign of encouragement to go ahead and take a leap of faith. Thank you.

  2. I always find myself putting of assignments at Uni because I’m worried I don’t know how to start to get the best result which just ends up leaving me less time to the do the work! I’ve found it’s better to always jump right in and start on that first draft. At least then you have something to work off

  3. Well done on sending your book to print, it takes a big leap of faith but that is the difference between those who do and those who don’t.

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