Beyond the barrier

by Jeb

“Try something new, just one thing, each time we come, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you get better.”

Sage advice, I don’t mind saying. Seems I’m pretty adept at offering guidance to my boys…in the above case, as they complained how much better everyone was at skateboarding the first few times we went to Etnies.

What I’m wondering today is why I’m not so adept at practicing what I preach.

Action becomes advice as we age.

When we’re young, we do. We try. We execute. As Seth would say, we ship. But as responsibilities increase, risk gets discarded like so many other pieces of a once beautiful puzzle.

And without it, we’re not whole. We’re not able to project a clear picture of ourselves for others to see. Nor reflect one for our own viewing. Bits and pieces, but not everything. Often times, not the most important things.

Like what we’re capable of. Like how far we’re willing to go to help another human being. Like what we’re willing to do in support of our values. Like how we’d respond to a situation - good or bad - brought on by taking that chance.

So instead, we talk. We offer opinions. Judgments. Advice. We become the proverbial back seat drivers, the monday morning quarterbacks, the men and women “who point out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better”.

Reclaiming the great devotion.

When was the last time you truly stretched beyond your reach? Mentally, physically or otherwise…when was the last time you anguished in pursuit of something. Mine was March of 2008, and it involved running a good long way. At the finish line - actually, truth be told, many miles prior to the finish line - I was completely spent in every imaginable way. But on crossing that threshold, I understood triumph in a way I’d never known it as an adult.

That was two full years ago, much too long to wait between triumphs. Honestly, I can’t think of anything in my life right now that couldn’t be made better by another similar triumph. But triumph requires devotion. And devotion can’t exist without risk and pain and failure and anguish.

It’s what greatness requires though. Not President of the United States kind of greatness, or MVP of the Superbowl kind of greatness. But the kind of greatness that brings out your very best, whatever that looks like. That gets you beyond the barrier of fear, and in so doing, inspires the people around you.

So what are you willing to risk? How many signs of life can you endure to ensure somebody gets to glimpse your very best?

Because the thing is, no matter how risky, everything is done by someone. Not everyone, but someone. That someone should be you.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bamboo Forest - PunIntended March 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Good inspiring words. We gotta do it. Whatever it may be.
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2 Jeb March 6, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Indeed we do, BF. And with the help of your online timer, perhaps we’ll get on with it sooner rather than later, eh?


3 Nate March 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

What’s up Jeb? Well, I just got back from a full day meditation retreat yesterday…and yikes…it was definitely pushing it! I had apprehension and some fear going it it to, but I’m glad that I did it. I certainly won’t say it was easy…however, I can say that it was an extremely enjoyable experience and I’m looking forward to doing another one again, whenever that may be.

I’m finding that spark come back as I’m taking more risks and doing things I thought I couldn’t do.
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4 Jeb March 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

Such is the true power in risk Nate. Even if it turns out to be a mistake, it makes action habitual. That’s good.


5 Jules March 8, 2010 at 12:10 am

What does greatness require? It’s a good question because it can have so many different answers.

I’ve been thinking as of late that it doesn’t have a lot to do with what others might think, but more to do with what I feel when no one is watching. Though, how far would any of us push ourselves if no one was truly watching?

But, then again, we all have our own dragons to slay in this life. How do we know when we’ve really slayed them all? Maybe, if we have to ask . . .


6 Jeb March 8, 2010 at 11:52 am

A beautiful way of thinking about it Jules. How far would we push? I don’t know. For me, not far enough, though. Not yet. Still plenty of unslayed dragons out there…I don’t suppose they’d all line up and make an easy business of it. No, probably not.

I guess the dragon slaying continues. May greatness show up for both of us before it’s too late.


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