Over 100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt outlined the choice each of us face: to point out where others fail, or to challenge ourselves to dare greatly.
“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 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 up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Today, researcher Brene Brown shares exactly how we do that. As Proverbs 14 implores, the first step is “giving thought to our ways.”
Let’s read on together,
As children, we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminshed, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons; and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear.
Now as adults, we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection – to be the person whom we long to be – we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.
The word “persona” is the Greek term for “stage mask.” In my work, masks and armor are perfect metaphors for how we protect ourselves from the discomfort of vulnerability. Masks make us feel safer even when they become suffocating. Armor makes us feel stronger even when we grow weary from dragging the extra weight around.
In case you missed it yesterday, here’s Brene’s TED Talk about the power of vulnerability.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Today, I will practice taking off my “mask” so that I may dare greatly.
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.