Do you remember the time you bumped your head?
Confidence and stupidity seemingly have a lot in common. I remember watching my kid running along the edge of a huge staircase that led into our tidal pool. I call it ‘ours’ because most days we were the only people there. When you are five minutes away from the beach, it soon becomes your second home. My son was dexterous and light on his feet. He could always out-balance and out-manoeuvre his siblings. I watched him gracefully and fearlessly run along the edge and I wanted to shout out, “be careful!” There is this fear that every parent has when seeing their children do crazy things. We want to protect them and save them from the harms of the world. Incidentally, do you know who else wants to do that? God!
The very first time you put your hand into the fire, or you touched something hot, you learned that you should probably not do that again. In fact, you got that lesson down so well, you’ve probably forgotten the exact moment it was taught to you. Likely, no amount of warnings could prevent you from trying to touch that flame. It was the flame itself that taught you a lesson. “I burn!”
On a grander scale life burns us. It burns us in many ways. It burns us, not because it’s unfair. I always hear people say, “Well shit happens, and life ain’t fair!” I say the opposite, “Life is fair, but you’re just a bad student! You ain’t learning shit…” You have to see the fire and learn not to touch it. You have to go back and ask yourself, “What led me here…” Ask yourself, “What did I do to get to this point?” When you figure that out, make notes of it. Tell yourself that you will do things a bit differently next time.
Now, I know what folks say. I know that not everything that happens to you is really upto you. Not everything is merely a result of your actions or your inaction. That is likely true. I am not disputing that. Why I choose to focus on what I did and what I can do is because I have autonomy over one person in life, and that’s me. I can’t control the outcome in relation to the actions of others, or the universe or what they call in insurance policies, “acts of God.” Why concern myself with what isn’t in my care to begin with?
Yes, I bumped my head when I went rollerblading and tried some crazy backwards jump. I didn’t have a helmet on and I suffered a mild concussion. I couldn’t see straight for a week! Did I stop trying my tricks? No, I didn’t. I got a helmet. You do what you can, and that’s good enough. You keep doing what you can, and soon you’ll find yourself in a position where you can harness the things around you to your advantage. Yes, you’ll burn your fingers, but you’ll also- hopefully- learn.