Living Life on Your Edge

You can live a safe, predictable life, or you can live a wild, chaotic, unpredictable life. The former provides you with a sense of safety, and the latter a sense of excitement.

Living your life on the line that separates these two extremes is what I call "living life on your edge."

One secret for living life on your edge is to do something in your life that scares or intimidates you.

It's a wonderful way to grow and challenge yourself.

When I was 20 years old, I was intimidated by the consulting industry and the case interview -- BUT I did do it anyway. (I'm so glad that I did!)

This month I joined the Girl Scouts and volunteered to be a meeting leader for my youngest daughter's troop (the parents take turns leading each meeting).

I am TERRIFIED -- but I'm doing it anyway.

I'm sure I will figure it out, as I usually do (though not always within the time frame I prefer). But, not knowing in advance what I will do or how I will figure it out makes me nervous.

(I ended up reaching out to my network and they've been very helpful.)

Here's my question of the day:

What are you vigorously pursuing in your life that intimidates you?

Share your thoughts with me below.

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96 comments… add one
  • Orlok Jan 21, 2016, 11:23 pm

    I’m going down a management track role at Amazon despite having never managed before and having no educational background in management / business.

  • Robin Luo Jan 21, 2016, 9:13 pm

    Thanks Victor for these inspiring articles over years. We should always stretch ourselves to our limits, which we always underestimate. Yes, there will be struggling, failure and pain on the way to greatness. Unfortunately, it is our human nature to avoid risks and short term pain and discomfort. I failed and got humiliated many times in my life so far, but I am so happy that I am never defeated. Looking backward, I am proud of myself that I have already walked so far from a very humble and narrow minded person 10 years ago.

  • LGS Jan 21, 2016, 8:19 pm

    I’m terrified to re-enter the workforce after a 2+ years absence. I have an MBA but am concerned about changes in the industry, rusty Excel skills and whatever else I may realize that I have forgotten. Currently working on a Mastering Work flow short course and Excel Financial analysis. It’s very telling and I’m glad I’m doing it to build up confidence.

  • Rudolph Shutta Jan 21, 2016, 8:13 pm


    This volunteer opportunity will be the best decision you ever made and your girls will love you for it; however, you will not fully understand your contribution until later in life when one of your girls, not necessarily your own, tell you that they had a wonderful experience. That happened to me recently. So sit back and enjoy the ride it is amazing.

    I was a WEBLO Den leader for my son’s Cub Scouts Den. I was, like you, scared to death. However, somehow we all survived my tenure, how I am not sure. That was over 35 years ago. Today the Weblo’s are now men with children and they remember me and the fun times at the BBQ’s at my house, Marco/Polo pool games and the Weblo adventures.

    Victor, you will have the time of your life. Now the important point, I wish I had girls because the Girl Scout’s have the best cookies. I am hoping my granddaughters are girl scouts so they can keep me in cookies.

    Knowing I was present for my son’s and made a difference in the lives of other children is a gift that keeps on giving. It also gave me confidence knowing I could reach out of my comfort zone and just make it happen. Working with children really teaches you about what is important in life. Lastly, the children are very serious about scouting and are not afraid to let you know when you make a mistake.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:37 pm


      Thank you for sharing your story.


  • George Jan 21, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Preparing for my PhD defense makes me extremely nervous. Of course I haven’t done a PhD before 🙂 It’s my 6 years work for which I have to build a story. Plus, my thesis is about telling stories using service models, therefore I have twice the pressure.

  • MKR Jan 21, 2016, 6:50 pm

    Quiting the full-time prestigious job I’ve worked so hard to get and throwing myself into figuring out how to make my interest in the healthcare industry into a challenging job

  • Lara Jan 21, 2016, 6:42 pm

    I just returned home from my masters in the UK with no money and quit my old job today; they had been desperately trying to get me to come back. I want to try out entrepreneurship for a short while and pursue only roles that I really want with companies that I really want to work for. It’s daunting and many people think I’m dumb but it’s freeing and exciting too. I’m optimistic about the future.

  • Mousselmal Taoufik Jan 21, 2016, 6:32 pm

    Hey Victor,

    Thanks for the regular emails, been reading almost all of them!
    The thing that Im doing that is terrifies me now is the set up of an Accelerator in Algeria with the same model as YC in SF. Im now in Seoul trying to convince Korean and Chinese VC to diversify their investments in Africa into the creative/knowledge economy. What scares me about all this? When you set a company like that, you have to have a network of big names, and for now I only have 1…But ill do it because my purpose to help african entrepreneurs succeed locally and globally is above everything. Thats life on my edge!

    Have a wonderful day!

  • Carl Jan 21, 2016, 5:54 pm

    I’m terrified of having to get up to give a spontaneous speech. I have spoken publicly 100s of times, had to because I have lead a 1.000 people company. When I was 25, I failed all interviews with MBBB because my brain shut down completely when I had to get up. Although, I decided to challenge myself to overcome this hurdle and I did to some extent, to this date I’m never sure if it’ll work or if I will freeze. For me the only way to overcome this terrifying fear is by taking every opportunity that presents itself and go right in like a buffalo. I’m still hoping for the point when it starts to feel comfortable…

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:34 pm


      Keep at it, learn from each attempt, improve. Time takes care of the rest.


  • Kate Jan 21, 2016, 5:30 pm

    Hi Victor!

    Love your posts. Something that makes me uncomfortable that I’m trying to master is a course in Java programming. I want to be more confident in my technical abilities, and I think Codeacademy is a great place to start 🙂



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