This article is the fourth of a five-part series of talks delivered by Steve Harvey featuring themes of resilience, courage, faith, imagination, adversity, belief, destiny, and purpose. Part one hit on the importance of never giving up. Part two hit on the power of faith and imagination. Part three hit on dealing with adversity. I will continue to publish one article per day until January 7th instead of the usual 2 to 3 posts per week. Per his Wikipedia page, Steve Harvey is an American comedian, television host, producer, radio personality, actor, and author. He has been described as “America’s comedian” for his high likability and down-to-earth demeanor. But what I like most about Steve Harvey is the vulnerability with which he shares the wisdom he has acquired over the years. I’ve transcribed the fourth segment entitled “What Happens When You Believe in Yourself.” In it, Steve Harvey talks about the necessity of taking risks on the path to success using the analogy of a cliff, jump, and parachute.
I’m going to tell you something that every successful person has to do, including you. Believe it or not, every successful person in this world has jumped. I’m going to tell you what I mean by that. Eventually you’re going to have to jump. You cannot just exist in this life. You’ve got to try to live. If you are waking up thinking that there’s got to be more to your life than it is. Man, believe that it is. Believe in your heart of hearts that it is. But to get to that life, you’re going to have to jump.
I’ll tell you why I call it jumping. When you see people in life. When you’re standing on the cliff of life and you see people soaring by. And you see people soaring, going to exotic places. You hear about them doing wonderful things. Maybe you look up the street and your neighbor just gets a car every year, every two years. How is he doing that? Have you ever thought, “Maybe this person right here has identified their gift and is living in their gift?”
You just got to quit looking as gifts as running, jumping, singing, and dancing. It’s more than that. It’s if you know how to network, if you can connect dots, if you draw, if you teach. Some of yall fry chicken better than anybody else. Bake pie. Some of you cut hair, color hair. Your gift, not your education. You go get an education, that’s nice. But if you don’t use your gift, that education is only going to take you so far. I know a lot of people got degrees, man, they ain’t even using. It’s your gift. But the only way for you to soar is you got to jump. You got to take that gift that’s packed away on your back. You got to jump off that cliff and pull that cord. That gift opens up and provides the soar. If you don’t ever use it, you’re gonna just go to work. And if you’re getting up going to work on a job every day that you hate going to, that ain’t living man. You’re just existing.
At one point in time, you ought to see what living is life. But the only way to see what living is like, you got to jump. And here is the problem. I’ma just be real with it. When you first jump–let me tell me something–the parachute will not open right away. When you jump, it’s not going to open right away. You’re going to hit them rocks. You’re going to get some skin tore off on them cliffs. You’re going to get all your clothes tore off. You’re going to get some cuts on you. You’re going to be bleeding pretty bad. But eventually the parachute has to open. That ain’t a theory, that’s a promise.
Here’s another thing. You can play it safe, and deal without the cuts and the tears. And you can stand on that cliff of life forever safe. But if you don’t jump, I got another promise I can make you. Your parachute will never open. You’ll never know. If I were you, I would jump because that’s the only way to get to that abundant life. You got to jump, man. You got to take a chance.
Now when I get through talking, there are those of you who will discuss this in the car. “Well, I got bills.” Whether you stay on the cliff or you jump, you’re going to have bills. “Well, if I quit my job I’m going to ruin my credit.” If you go to your job, you’re living check-to-check. Even if you got A-1 credit, you can’t buy nothing else no d**n way. At one point in time, do yourself a favor. Before you leave this world. Before you die, jump. Jump. Just jump one time. Thank you very much.