Once upon a time, you were young and inspired, and you knew things about the world.
Things like peanut butter tastes better without jelly (fact), the height of a girl’s ponytail likely matches her socio-economic class, and best friends forever means forever, because anything that’s engraved into a half heart necklace is a SERIOUS COMMITMENT.
And then? It all hit the fan.
You discovered peanut butter isn’t actually sophisticated, no one will take you seriously wearing a ponytail, and stainless steel half-hearts give you rashes. (Sorry, Tara.)
You discovered other things, too. Things that hurt. Like that people sometimes lie to get ahead. And the people you trust most will break it. And not everybody will do the right thing when they should, leaving you with your heart agape.
You discovered that sometimes, the only thing you can rely on is yourself – and even then, you discovered you won’t always be able to do that. You’ll let stress get the best of you. Humans bring out the worst in you. And situations transform your brilliance into average.
And all these discoveries will slowly, but determinedly, carve the letters R-I-P into your conviction. Into your confidence. Into your faith – both in yourself, and in others.
And soon you’ll feel like you don’t know, at least with any certainty, much of anything. In a world of unpredictable humans, behaving in unpredictably disappointing ways, the things you thought you knew for sure turn into nothing more than a passing mirage. After all, things are not always as they seem.
And that’s the most excruciating discovery a human can make.
It’s excruciating because in order to do great things in this world, you need to feel safe. And when the world and all its complexities and dramas and people and disappointments keeps reminding you that they will get you the moment you let your guard down, you don’t feel safe – you feel vulnerable, and apprehensive and cynical. And when you don’t feel safe, you don’t have the luxury of creativity or focus. And without creativity and focus, you can’t make big, amazing ideas come to life.
So what do you do? What do you do when you’re having buckets of shit dumped on you left and right, and you’re not even sure you can depend on yourself to be bold, or brave, or anything remotely useful?
Two options: Invest in a good umbrella and stand there with your thumb in your mouth. Or, get up the nerve to confront the jerks with the buckets.
Because the way to feel safe in this world isn’t always about putting up the best defense; it’s about being willing to take it in the face in order to get out there and RUN YOUR OFFENSE.
Operate in offense.
This is how you begin to feel safe and take risks. This is how you build trust where there was none. You stop letting things happen to you, and you start happening to things.
Because by default, an object in motion will stay in motion. But an object at rest?
Stocks up on umbrellas.