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Choose Your Adventure -- Writer's Poke #200

Iowa State University's slogan is "Choose Your Adventure." That's how they market themselves to today's potential college students.

It makes me wonder if their Director of Marketing read the same books that I did growing up. During the 1980s, Choose Your Own Adventure novels were pretty popular in my grade school. The gimmick behind the concept was, you'd read a few pages and then be given a choice. You could either "jump off the cliff" and turn to page 69, or you could "stay and wait for help" and turn to page 142, and so on. So they weren't really "novels" at all, but a series of possible stories that lasted a few pages at most.

Jump off the cliff, and you could probably expect the story to end with a splat on the next page. So I usually ended up cheating. Yes, I would like to jump off the cliff, but not if that meant the story would come to an abrupt ending. Sneaking a look at page 69, if I saw that the story was going to continue with another "point of departure" option, then I'd go ahead and jump off the cliff. But if that option were a dead end (pun intended), then I would turn to page 142.

In life, there's no way to flip ahead to see how your adventure will turn out. Iowa State can offer its students hundreds of options, but they cannot give them the security of peaking -- to see that if they jump off the cliff, they just might discover that they have the ability to fly.

How many of us cling to the security of not jumping? Let your adventure begin.

Explore a time when you took a chance. Were you glad you did? Did it pay off, either in the way you expected it would, or in some completely unexpected way?

"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." -- Oprah Winfrey

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