The most important question…ever: "WTF?"
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
Don’t roll your eyes just yet. I know, opening up with a quote isn't always the best idea, but this one has been a north star for me.
I love to climb (as you can see from the shameless photo). It reminds me everyday: you're never getting to the top, if you're not willing to fall.
But let me tell you, falling sucks. Why? Because you think it's some indication that you're not good enough, that you're wrong, or that you made a mistake. It can make you believe you’re a failure.
I understand all too well the power of failure. I've changed careers a few times (LinkedIn), and with each change, there’s always a steep learning curve. It’s never easy learning something new, so I fell a lot. It was hard not to equate my falls with failure. However, when I started to rock climb, it shifted my perspective on what falling meant.
In life, like climbing, falling is still scary. It has the power keep you in a state of perpetual fear. And when you succumb to that fear, you become paralyzed. You stop trying. You stop moving.
You end up on what I call: The Escalator of Life.
It’s quite simple. What do you do on this escalator? You stand there, watch your life and/or career go by, and without any real risk, you end up somewhere, perhaps not of your exact choosing.
Luckily, there is no escalator in climbing. The only way you’re getting to the top, is to move. In your pursuit of the peak, you may come across a section you’re unfamiliar with. You may not know what to do next. However, in order to keep moving up, you have to make an effort, take a risk. You may fall in the process, but you’ll discover something about the next move, which will eventually get you to the top. So the fall isn’t an end result, but merely an effect. It wasn’t a failure, because it actually helped you get to the top.
Look, I'm not saying I spring out of bed, crushing mountaintops everyday. I love my couch. I love my Netflix. What I am saying is this:
Falling doesn't mean failure.
It’s how you grow. It’s how you get to the top.
It's how you learn to give the right fucks.
So every now and then, hit pause, get off the Escalator of Life and ask yourself, "WTF?"
And if you don't believe me, take it from Master Shifu...he knows kung fu.
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