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Doing new things

Friday, March 25, 2005 at 08:48AM
Posted by Registered CommenterPolitical Mammal in My personal history

Doing new things, particularly activities or undertakings that you have avoided for psychological reasons, takes courage. What is interesting to me is how many obstacles seem large and imposing when they are in front of you but turn out to have been quite modest in size and surprisingly easy to surmount after you have passed them by.

I remember, for instance, the day I learned how to swim. I am not sure how old I was, but I was a kid. I had played many times in the cool water of our pond in Vermont, but to that point I had never let my legs leave the safety of the muddy bottom without the aid of an inner tube or other floating device. Swimming, before I had yet swum, felt like something impossible, or at least very hard to imagine myself doing quite then.

My parents must have thought that it was time to learn because they offered my brother and I our own hammers if we could show them we were able to float or swim on our own.

I am not sure if I was exactly motivated by that hammer, though I do like tools, or why I was able to break through that barrier that particular day. Sometimes things just come together and you finally do something that you have been meaning to do. Sometimes it is because others have kindly provided the right environment for you, and sometimes it is comes from some kind of readiness or ripeness in your inner core.

Anyway, on that day I dogpaddled around and never looked back. I was excited afterwards to get my wooden-handled hammer. Interestingly, my brother, seeing that I could now swim, figured he could as well. He followed suit and got his own hammer. So even though he was almost two years younger, we accomplished that milestone at the same time.

It is important to look at yourself from time to time and ask what roadblocks are coming in the way of your meaningful progress in some area. Then knock one away and move on.

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