David Letterman retires Wednesday night from his gig on late night television. In anticipation of the departure, he is being profiled and interviewed by many. I saw him on CBS with Jane Pauley.
Retiring from daily television is a major change. Letterman says he finds major change “paralyzingly terrifying”.
“But, in every case, after I’ve found my way through to the other side, the awards have been beyond comprehension.”
Letterman is not the only person daunted by change. Most people are. Many people are paralyzed with terror, because they handle the change they face by moving aside or turning back. Some lay down in the middle of the change and get hammered until they are no more.
Letterman is one of the fortunate ones who overcomes the terror. On one hand, he acknowledges the significance of the change and how disconcerting it is. But, he has learned.
He has learned that change must be confronted with bravery. He knows most of the terror is imagined. He has experienced the “better”, the “refining”, the “shaping” which change provides.
Thus, the terror feeling has become his cue. “Keep moving” he says to himself. “You will like the result” he assures himself. “I’ve done this before”, he reminds himself. “I have what it takes.”
Experiencing change is like entering a cool pool in summer. Diving is better than easing in.