Let the wobbling begin.
I’m going to attempt to create a visual experience for you. Try and imagine yourself in this scene as you read along.
You are a toddler about 12 months old. You are used to crawling around when you want to get to somewhere other than where you are. Your view of the world is predominantly at ground level looking up at everyone. While this has been fine for a while, you now realize that others around you are doing things differently. You also notice that your hands and knees are getting sore.
Everyone around you seems to be getting around on their feet instead of their hands and knees. Hmmm you think, perhaps I can do this too. You inch your way over to a table or chair and using all your might, you pull yourself to an upright position. “There! You exclaim. “That wasn’t so hard.”
Full of confidence and wonder you lean towards the direction you want to go towards. First your right foot, followed by your left and boom! Down on your bottom you land. It looked so easy when you watched others complete the operation, but it doesn’t seem easy now.
Of course you eventually learned to walk, but not without a few good drops to the bottom and perhaps your head as well. It’s the natural evolution of learning to walk without the conscious processing that I describe above. Yet, if we were conscious, I don’t think my description would be too far off base. It might include varying degrees of excitement and fear depending on our nature and our success rates. And of course, there are many other milestone achievements of which we partake as developing children that have a similar structure.
I submit that, to some extent, we retain our childlike approach to change and development throughout the life span. The differences however, include that 1) we are often more conscious and 2) we are often filled with judgment and fear, both of which, are founded on information we have collected over the years. That information not even need be accurate, but it still influences our decision making capabilities.
In application, this means that if I had to learn to walk today, I might say to myself “No, I’d rather not, because I don’t want to risk falling.” Or “I don’t think I’ll take up playing the piano because I don’t ever stick with things.”
Thinking about this topic reminds me of a quote I like very much:
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because the trust is not on the branch, but on its wings. (author unknown).
Perhaps my argument is lost if your position is that you don’t trust your own wings. But even the most confident will at times lose faith in our selves. It is during those moments that we can trust that even our baby selves were once brave enough to take the risk towards change. We can know that sometimes we have to fall a bit to make progress and our boo boos and ouchies will heal. Wobbling is a sign of progress towards success rather than a prediction of our failure.
The baby in us has the desire for something more. It remains focused on the goal rather than the limitations. It is not necessary to recreate a state of unconsciousness to achieve this skill. Because we now have the ability as adults to exercise choice and reason, it is a matter of prioritizing the goal we want over indulging the fears, some of which are irrational, so that we might move towards the direction of our goals. We need not employ denial or ignorance, but rather the confidence that we are strong enough to tolerate the necessary wobbling and sometimes falling as a means to our achievement. And to consider that wobbling isn’t a sign of our failure, but is evidence of our willingness to grow.