Blogging has changed my life in one way. One fairly painful way. It causes me to think about what I have wanted to write for many years. It causes me to be introspective. Introspection is something I’m not necessarily adept at and it can be painful. A lot of what I right here is easy because it has no real depth. It’s superficiality doesn’t tell you anything about me or who I am. I believe it was Red Smith who said that writing is easy, you just open up a vein and bleed. Today I’ll bleed a little.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
The above quote is often attributed incorrectly to Nelson Mandela but was part of the book A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I have pushed that quote on my daughters for a couple of years. Shine, strive, be powerful, be great, let your light shine. In reality this quote really talks about me and where I have struggled in my life. It seems like bragging to think that I could have ever been great at anything. The reality is that in so many cases I have stopped short of ever becoming great. The fear of being the best at something quashes my desire. Being put on a pedestal or going out on a limb pushes me way out of my comfort zone. I can name many times that I have become pretty good at things and then backed off before becoming great at them. Pausing instead of taking that next step. Photography, running, poetry, leadership to name a few. As a younger man I remember being determined to never be content. To always want to be a little better but in reality I just kept looking for one more thing. A challenge that I could work at and be just good enough. Not really adding to the quality of my life but adding to the quantity. I’ve had a hard time pushing myself past that barrier to being really great at something. When I got to “good enough” I would look for the next challenge.
I see, hear, read people all the time that I think have equal or lesser abilities than my own but that have climbed to higher positions. They found their one thing to focus on and pushed past the barriers that I have imposed on myself. Sometimes I think it is focus. If I could find that “one thing” maybe I could push myself to be at the top of my game. Possibly a few less balls in the air would be a start. Other times I think it is laziness. Its hard to be among the best. It takes work and courage. Its easy to just be good enough.
The dichotomy in my brain is that I really want to be recognized for what I do. I get chills at the part in movie where the guy hits the home run that wins the big game. I get tears in my eyes when I see people triumph against all odds. I want that feeling but my brain isn’t wired in that configuration. On the outside I don’t know how to take a compliment but on the inside I need them to keep me motivated. I want to do great things but I don’t want the responsibility of being expected to do great things.
Maybe this is what 40phor is about. Maybe its about growing up, being introspective, and fighting off contentment. Maybe its about that search for that “one thing.” Or the search for the courage to let my own light shine.
Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don’t see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself. – Marianne Williamson