I recently read a snippet from Seven Sentences called Why Age Is Just A Number In Your Head and it gave me pause.
The premise of this short article is not simply that age is no barrier but that overcoming perceived obstacles like ‘age’ inspires others. And that opting out denies the world your dream.
Here’s why I paused. Should the world really be waiting for me, to live vicariously through my dream? Or should they be working on their own? And how should they divine where to draw the line between bravery and the just plain ill-advised?
I’ve been surprised by the extraordinary emerging courageously from what I thought to be ordinary. By the same token, I’ve also been gobsmacked by belief in attributes actually in absentia – making me sometimes wonder whether my own truths are really so self-evident – and also in this glib sense that one should be able to have whatever one wants.
In our world of instant gratification and easy celebrity, there have been many moments when I have listened to someone declare their passion, that ‘this’ is all that they have ever wanted, and been torn between cynical disbelief and tearful admiration (although mostly I sit somewhere – unmoved – in the middle).
But where does hard work and doing what it takes come in? What part does luck play? And where is the balance between heart-felt self-belief and pragmatic acceptance?
After all, we can’t all be good at everything. Life is full of knocks so how do you determine which of your passions to keep getting up for?
Thomas Edison claimed that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, Ralph Waldo Emerson liked to start with laughing often and loving much and Robert Frost was a firm advocate of the road less travelled. Even Albert Einstein seemed to subscribe to the view of a ‘lucky few’:
Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes, and feel with their own hearts.
But why this sense of scarcity? Is it really so difficult to dream?
Or is it owning it – taking responsibility and accepting all of the consequences – that scares us into silence?