Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now. W.H. Murray
You see him walk in and it’s no mystery, he’s a “new guy”. Maybe, the new athletic shoes gave him away or the fresh under armor shirt. It is obvious he is lost. He lacks a set plan, he just wanders from place to place. He does not understand the proper technique, position or leverage acquired to move the weight. Maybe, you giggle inside. He’s making a fool of himself, you think. Plugging numbers into the tread mills, dropping the weight stack, and appearing exhausted after only a few reps.
You have mastered the process of getting strong. This is your place. Your comfort zone. You attack it daily, this is where you are strong. This is where you thrive. You understand the ins and outs of your gym. You know what movements build you, what movements hurt you and above all else what movements make you look good, unlike the new fool.
However, what you don’t know about the fool is beyond these walls he is far more successful than you could imagine. Beyond these walls he may be a teacher, a doctor, a successful entrepreneur or a military veteran. Maybe, he has built a home, raised his children and holds a strong marriage. Maybe, he has swam miles, hiked mountains and has made it to hell and back. Maybe, he has mastered the challenges beyond your walls. And this is just a new endeavor. A new challenge.
When he finishes his session, he returns to his car. Maybe, he says, as he reflects on this new endeavor, the following:
“today was hard. I put myself out there, I tried something new. I found this new goal is much harder than I could ever have imagined. I’ve found weaknesses in my foundation that need to be strengthened. I am not afraid to be the fool, the new guy or the novice. That is where we change who we are. We become only stronger by admitting we don’t know it all. I saw people staring at me. Let them stare. If we are always afraid of appearing as if we don’t know something, we will never grow. For that reason, I will return tomorrow. I will become better one day at a time”
When faced with this reality, you find you have stayed in the walls you know. You have mastered this place. Everyday you’ve only acted in ways that affirm your strengths, yet do not show your weaknesses. You are afraid to be the fool. But, who is more foolish? Which one of you is the fool?
You are who you are until you decide to move beyond your strengths. To place yourself in new walls. To be the fool, if only for a little while.
If you find yourself feeling like the fool, know this, we all started somewhere. And, you are no different than the others who may stare. They have time and work ahead of you but, in time, you will catch up. Never forget that you are not without accomplishment. You are braver and wiser than you may assume. You have found the glitch in the system and you are ready to fix it.
If you find yourself spotting the fool, realize that you still have much to learn. Building on your comforts will never lead to progress. The fool is just like you. A short time ago you were that fool, understand that. Do not cast judgements, but lend a hand. Maybe, one day you will be the fool again and you’d expect no less.