The only thing stopping you…

The deep-seated fallacy of hindrance (or in technology parlance, “blocked by”) in a lot of our narratives, interactions, and goals.

We tend to cling to embedded narratives in terms of fallacious pre- and post-analysis.  We tend to self-recriminate ahead of time or ruminate on an outcome that we either didn’t anticipate or couldn’t predict.

Rather than asking ourselves “how can we ensure we learn from this”, we tend to be less directed and say “I’ll give it my best shot”.

Sometimes methodical inspection of the task, the process, or the activity yields new insights.

Sometimes having an experienced mentor or coach can help you break the mental barrier.

Sometimes it’s just making the decision to start and to accept the outcome regardless.

Sometimes the only thing stopping you is making the choice.

Realities

There’s a realization that I’ve had to spend time getting eye-to-eye with.  An inescapable fact.  It’s ugly and painful, but I think it’s about as close to a truism as I think I can really get.

95% of the time, people won’t show up for you.

4.9% of the time they might because either you’ve coerced them or their interests and yours align.

The remaining 0.1% of the time is complete happenstance or someone actually being a Decent Fucking Human Being.

“The work”, then, is to find as many people that fit into that 0.1% as you can.  Disregard the rest.

Because spending your time on the 95% of “no’s” and 4.9% of “maybe’s” is a waste of time, and there’s enough time wasted in our lives as it is.

Meaningful Life

Going to try an experiment. Going to ask a series of three questions relating to living a meaningful life. Anyone can feel free to steal them and answer them on their own if they like. Just going to be brutally-honest and just put it all out there. Because hiding isn’t doing anything for anyone at this point.
First question: “What is meaningful to me?”
I’m not sure if I can answer this question fully. A lot of my behavior is still driven by a need to be validated by other people. A lot of people-pleasing, avoiding boat-rocking. Being silently angry and sullen while presenting a stoic outer appearance. What has made me happy lately? Solving problems, even if they’re small ones. Granted, I get worked-up about big problems and then get down on myself when I can’t figure out how to solve smaller problems. When I can teach someone something new or keep motivation high with them on a physical activity or a project, then I am happy and satisfied. I feel as though I often can’t do a lot of things because I don’t know enough, so I content myself with nudging a tiny piece of something along. I need to break that cycle, but I’m afraid of spending effort on things that might not pan-out or might actively blow-up in my face. So, I guess to put it in succinct terms: I haven’t figured this out yet. There’s a lot that I know makes me feel a little better about myself, but there isn’t anything that I’ve found thus far that I would literally stop being me if I wasn’t able to do it anymore.
Second question: “What constitutes a meaningful life?”
Another tough one. For me, it’s less applicable to social good or social justice, though for people that can derive meaning and merit from their actions in these efforts I’m happy for them. I suppose in my case it’s way more cerebral than physical, but the physical can be a gateway or path toward it. I’ve felt pretty fucking incredible getting to the top of some pretty interesting rope climbs, and I’ve found a kind of peace being out in nature. I suppose that’s what informs a lot of my life experience, seeing as how a large part of my life has been spent in some kind of anxiety, depression, or trauma. Finding those “moments of power”, of time-outside-of-time when life is larger than itself… that’s meaningful to me. When reality just seems to become stock-still and I can feel the edges of reality kind of curving inward on itself; those are the moments I live for. At the top of a long hike, a hard climb, a powerful move on a boulder problem, or even sitting with someone after pouring our hearts out on the floor for the other to see. These are the moments I keep my eyes peeled for.
Final question: “What would I be doing if money and education were no obstruction?”
Honestly? Climbing and coaching. I’d want to learn as much as possible about physical training, conditioning, nutrition, and injury management/rehabilitation as possible and help people to push just that little bit further. Just the tiniest iota beyond what they thought they were capable of. Seeing somebody literally glow because they achieved a new personal record or achieved a goal makes me happy.
A close second would be writing and photography. I’d like to be able to take pictures of places I find interesting, get their history, talk to the people who know, and be able to bring that back to the rest of the world. Because knowing more about the world around me is more important than ever.

Just because

Just because your hands are trembling doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Often it means that you’ve exerted yourself in pursuit of something greater.

Just because you’ve failed or fallen doesn’t mean you’ll always fail or fall.

Past may be prologue, but it does not determine the epilogue of your journey.

Just because someone doesn’t understand or support you doesn’t mean you’re wrong or bad.

Sometimes it’s just an indicator that you’re on a different path.  Respect the differences and celebrate them.

Sometimes

Sometimes you have to…

  • Make the space in your heart to be able to say “no”.
  • Make yourself understand that the things people do or did to you are wrong.
  • Let yourself get angry at all the pain inflicted.
  • Tell the truth and be brutally-honest.
  • Cry and release the pain.

Sometimes, even the best of us crack under the pressure. It’s not the fall that defines us, it’s what we do afterward. What do we do when we fall?

We pick ourselves back up.

Every person has a story

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

No matter how you emphasize the words, the meaning is the same.  It’s why we have to do the work, lean in, and dig deeper.  It’s why inquiry, discovery, and revision are pre-requisites for being a functional human being.

The impact isn’t just limited to people–it’s all-encompassing.  Individuals, groups, organizations, countries, cultures, civilizations–nothing is left out.

When you encounter someone new, try remembering it.  See how quickly things change.

Why?

Lead with it.  It might seem inscrutible, impossible to comprehend the reasons why depending upon what subject is being queried.  But the impossibility of starting with it begs the question itself: why not start with “why”?

Take, for example, an engineer.  Brilliant, but utterly fearful and ineffective at communicating.  Why?

Perhaps that very same brilliant engineer might have been smothered or abused early in their life.  An educator or authority figure might have told them they’d never be able to communicate well.  A parent who could never be placated or pleased tore them down at every turn.  Maybe that’s why.

Maybe moves us closer.  Why gives us an opening to insert insight, perspective, and empathy into the discourse.

When we’re confronted by difficult choices, disagreement, or discontent, we have the agency to ask the magic question.  It’s up to us to dig deeper.

So, why not?