Monday, March 4, 2013

Be Excellent

Knowing the right thing to do and actually doing it are two different things. 

This has kind of been the theme at Hubris House lately. Not in a moral sense- in a "I want to be X so I need to change Y" kind of way.* Knowing what you need to do to solve a problem/ change a situation is one thing.Taking the giant leap- the life changing humongous dive- required to actually make the change is another.

An interesting little facet of this life changing leap thing is that it takes a while to do it. Maybe we hop a bit, make a couple doomed little skips into our new lives- get our toes wet in the sea of change- then retreat. We of the Hubris persuasion need to try every possible other option before we commit to the scary new changes that need to be made. But we make the changes (in our own time,) meet our goals, run into the edge of another body of water and  start all over again. Veni vidi vici rinse and repeat, dude. 

Choosing to make the leap is often the biggest challenge in the whole life changing process- for the most part the rest is a tumble down a rolling, prickle covered hill (not writing though- that's like rolling up and down a mountain chain but maybe only for me). Change is a process and a lot of stuff has to happen to get a person to the leaping part.

Oddly, and I'm always shocked by this, many people won't change at all. I mean, in a way I get it- Why bother? Change is difficult and failure sucks. Life goes on whether we try really hard to be better or not. Just do what's easy and, in an attempt to make yourself feel better, castigate those that try, but fail, to reach their goals in (what you consider to be) a timely manner. Giving up or not even trying in the first place can be a kind of comfort blanket knit with soft fuzzy "if I wasn't so lazy I coulds" and "I know I could do it if I trieds" and some nice knobby "someday I wills" edged with sparkly "I don't have the time fors". 

That blanket is easy to knit and it gets bigger every day. Before you know it there you sit, huddled in your pretty comfy blanket on the shore. Once in a while you scoot a little closer to the water and just as often you scoot back. We all spend time on that shore and possibly start a maybe-someday blanket of our own. There's lots of company there and everyone is saying the same thing: Later. Maybe someday. I don't want to fail. Where's the remote? 

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But you should never lose sight of the big goal- the shiny everyone-says-it's-impossible goal- that shimmers just there on the horizon. Aim for greatness- worst case you hit pretty-goodness which is, like, way above where you started. Plus it gets you off the shore- you don't want to be there at low tide and all anyone ever does is talk and knit. Which actually is a lot less fun that you'd expect. Knitting outdoors is fraught with complications. Anyway.

This blog exists, in part, to let you see that greatness (or pretty-goodness in my case- at least at the moment) doesn't just happen. You have to take potentially painful and scary leaps into the unknown and you have to let yourself fail. You have to understand that you can only aim to be better than you were but if you keep getting better all the time you are *that* much closer to being great. Just doing something to improve your life  gets you off that unchanging shore and into the sea with the big fish.

Quit accepting what you do as "good enough." Take a chance, get out there and fail spectacularly at something that really matters to you. Keep on failing, faltering, crashing, until you succeed more than you fail. Try to be great at something because, when you give up on greatness, apathy takes you and drags you around by the hair. It's never good when that happens. Or you get stuck on that weird shore on the sea of change. Neither option is all that appealing.

Going outside what feels comfortable and safe isn't easy and it isn't always fun- sometimes it's flat out terrifying- but what kind of life will you live if you keep doing the things you've always done? Don't let failure be your comfort blanket. Don't let failure stop you from trying. Don't let failure define you. Don't do it, not even when it really, really hurts.

I went through a time in my life when all of my friends were 75 or older (I was a very young housewife and these wonderful women were home during the day and had time for me- unlike my peers who were in college and busy doing not-kid-friendly stuff). The one thing they all talked to me about was regret. Some had few regrets and some were plagued by them, but none of them wished that they had taken fewer chances in pursuit of their dreams. Not a one. These incredible people told me to stop talking about maybe someday doing something and to get my ass in gear and actually do it because time keeps moving even if I don't. And now I'm telling you. Be excellent. You only get one chance at this life blogpeople, make the most of it.


* The kind of change I'm talking about is the kind that needs to happen in order to become something. It could be the lifestyle changes needed to lose a lot of weight. It could be the habit changes needed to become a successful something (student, writer, dog groomer- the specifics don't matter). For most people little changes (boxers to briefs, dark roast to light, Mac to PC) aren't that difficult. They don't require giant leaps of anything though I know that these are big life changing events for others- in that case they are what I'm talking about too. Mostly though I'm talking about following your dreams and taking charge of your life but that's kind of twee so maybe you should just infer it from the text.**

** I also ignore the journey after you leap. I mean, okay so you decide to change, you make this leap into a metaphorical sea of change and then what? Dude. The rest of it is your thing and not mine. You can read this blog to see the crap I run into but your goals are different from mine. Your successes and failures are going to be different. Your journey is going to be different.

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