There’s a tendency to romanticize the past — life was simpler, healthier, easier to understand. Sometimes there’s also the tendency to idealize the future — how great, open and fair it will be.
The present is dismissed. It’s unclear, complicated and uncertain. It’s scary. “Why do we have to live through this when things used to be so simple?” “Why did it have to change?” “Remember the good old days when…”
Sure today is frightening, there’s no script or map or path to follow. Yesterday has happened. Lessons have been learned and the options clearly defined.
When faced with two roads it’s easy to take the most traveled. That’s the one that’s been mapped out with yesterday’s scripts. The one less traveled is today’s path. It’s not well defined and full of obstacles, but as the poem goes, taking it makes all the difference.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. — US President Teddy
It’s easier to be the coach when you’re sitting in the stands than when you’re behind the bench. It’s easier to be the backseat driver than the one behind the wheel. It’s easier to leave an anonymous comment than to write the piece being commented on.
It’s easier to be in the stands, to be in the backseat or to write an anonymous comment precisely because because of the anonymity — remaining unknown and unrecognized is safe. The hard work is the one that requires you to show up and be seen. When you challenge the status quo and raise your voice in the hope of making the world a better place (no matter how big that change is).
How about we dedicate Mondays not to those who dread these days, but those who look forward to getting to opportunity to push ahead, enter the arena, pick up a sword, but shed their shield? The naysayers who give you a thumb down when you’re bloodied and beat quite frankly don’t matter. They will forever remain forgettable, irrelevant and replaceable.
To all the fearless people entering the arena today… This is your day.
(And a great thank you to Brene Brown for encouraging us all to dare greatly.)
The rest of us…
The enemy of ignorance and control is radical, uncontrollable, open communications. What would it look like if everyone from the poorest to the richest could share and interact as though they were neighbors? What would the world look like if we all had access to the internet through drones and balloons?
It’s in Facebook and Google’s advantage to have as much of the world connected and using their services to share, search, communicate and question openly. A world supported by companies that strive, depend and rely on open communications — not governments that require ignorance and indifference — is a more open one.
Tearing the world open is a task fraught with challenges, mistakes, drawbacks and roadblocks, but if we stick with it, get ready for a brave new world.