I want to take you back a great many years. You once were an adorable little kid. Self-criticism hadn’t fogged up the radiant sunrise of your life yet. You rehearsed being joyfully yourself over and over again as you ran around, shoestrings dancing in your hands, imagining all the extraordinary things your life would become. The shoe strings were a bit unusual, but they made you happy and helped you focus on your play. You had a simple name for this practice: “running”. It was your favorite thing to do.
Yes, your most treasured thing to do was thinking that you could do anything.
Now, you know better. You’ve tried. You’ve failed. You’ve tried again and again and failed countless more times. It was painful and humiliating. You did this until you wised up to the “fact” that life is a whole lot more challenging than imagining you can do anything.
Yes, thinking about all the reasons why you can’t replaced “running” as your new go-to-activity.
Now I’m going to pose a tough question: Did “wising up” really make you smarter than the little kid you once were?
One morning, about 15 years ago, you woke up distraught and paced around your disheveled basement apartment, with no shoestrings in your hand or delight in your heart, until you finally owned up to the fact that you were trudging in the opposite direction of the way that you had intended to go as a child.
You were frustrated enough with this insight to act. It was January and miserably cold, so you bundled up in your coat, stocking cap and mitts and shivered your way across a bunch of blocks to the Sioux Falls YMCA. Once there, you simply introduced yourself to the front desk person and signed up for a membership with the intention of doing yoga.
I wish I could tell you the rest is history, that on that day you had a permanent breakthrough as lasting as a dolphin tattoo and that you would from then on be the perpetual and everlasting victor of the rest of your life.
But Jason, I intend this to be an honest letter. You, my friend, like to carry a good number of victim cards in that deck of yours.
Yes, it will always be tempting to run towards all the reasons why you can’t. It will simply always be tempting.
But I urge you, as often as you can and each day if possible, to do your imperfect best to run in the direction you most desire.
You may just discover a life beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.
Your Ever-Learning-Growing-Mistake-Making-AND-Recovering Self
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “Doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.