Photo Credit: Simeon, www.sxc.hu

As a child, we have an innate courage to be opened to life. We have little (or almost nothing if you’re an extrovert) hesitancy in trying new things. When somebody offered us a ride, we will join. If we’re invited to a gathering, we will come. If we are told to try these new sport, our hands will immediately grab the ball.

But as the years goes by, we are told that we must not talk to strangers, be careful in what we’re doing, and think twice (or even ten times) before trying something new. These are well-intentioned advises. They are given for our safety and those who are giving these have the best in mind for us.

But as we are receiving these advises, we are also hearing something different. Gradually, some of us learned to close ourselves from new people, places, and experiences for the sake of safety and familiarity.

We became adults that are sealed enough not to let disappointments to disturb us. But as we are doing this, we are also preventing the joys, and bright things in life to penetrate us. We are living in a shell and wondering why our life feels so empty.

We are deliberate in hiding our weaknesses, thus we are unintentionally covering our strengths. And not discovering and using our potentials to make a contribution to the world is a tragedy. There are millions of people who are saying that they don’t have any gifts, they are insisting that they are just ‘an average Joe’ and they have nothing to offer.

When we saw someone who dares greatly, we chuckled and labelled him as stupid. In reality, we are just insecure because we met a courageous person who embraces his gifts of imperfection. We met a person who is truly living.

We’re afraid to say ‘I love you’ because we’re scared for the worst reply and if she will even reply at all.

We’re afraid to start trying because we dread the idea of failing.

We’re afraid to click the ‘Publish’ button because of the likelihood of nasty comments.

We’re afraid to sing because we’re terrified that we’ll be out of tune (and make everybody mad).

We’re afraid to dance because someone might call us idiot.

We don’t want to be vulnerable. But without vulnerability, there are no possibilities. No possibility of disappointments with the life’s negatives. No possibility of appointments with life’s positives. It is like being in the coffin - dead.

Receiving nothing is more disappointing than disappointment. Having nothing is worse than having failure.

Risk taking is security making.

When facing their greatest opponent and his comrades are losing hope, one of the bravest and ‘stupidest’ anime character said these words, “I don’t want regrets, I don’t want to think ‘I should have done it!’. And I don’t want all the things we did to be turned into nothing!” Naruto continued fighting for their cause and defy the odds.

Here are the ‘opened’ people in history encouraging us to be vulnerable:

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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt, "Man in the Arena" Speech given April 23, 1910

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

-Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement address given on June 15, 2005

Why be vulnerable? Why not? Be naked and change the world.

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid
To fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

Why do you we need to be vulnerable? Share in the comments.

You may also like:
Think Different. Act Different.
Will You Make a Dent?
Still In The Game

Recommended Readings:
Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell
The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

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