Saturday, July 24, 2010
I have been reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White to Elle the last little while. I love hearing from Charlotte's perspective what it is like to spin a web, what the different kinds of line are used for, and how she explains to Wilbur that it's really not that awful to eat a bug. Wilbur, in his innocence, believes that he can spin a web as good as any spider and sets out to make one with a rope tied to his curly, pig-tail. Of course, no matter how hard he tries he just can't do it. He is not a spider. He is a pig and pigs do not make spider webs.
Watching is entirely different than doing, as Wilbur found out in his web-spinning experiment. Spectating is not playing. Reading is not writing. Painting by numbers is not painting. Assembling IKEA furniture is not cutting, sanding, and creating the design of a chair. Looking at your bike from inside your house is not riding it. Knowledge is not wisdom. All of these examples point to something more.
So much of our lives are spent as watchers. We see other people do things and somehow we think that we could never do that. We limit ourselves. We tell ourselves we can't. We compare our 'would-be, not-ever-tried' experience with people who have invested time, energy, practice into skill development and think that because we can't be the best at something, like those other people, we shouldn't even try. Here's a secret. Now listen up. At some point those people that are doing those things that you think are amazing tried something. After the trying, they decided that they were going to pursue it with everything they've got, whether they succeeded or not. We are all afraid to suck, to be mediocre, and to possibly be ridiculed, so we don't put ourselves in that position...ever. And then we wonder why we are bored, flipping the channels, and generally grouchy with the way our lives are panning out. We aren't really doing much; we're just watching.
I love hearing people's stories of when they've tried something new and they find out they really love it. Even better that they really didn't, but they tried, and it was okay. You can appreciate something, like how I view my eight-legged friends, and still not be able to spin a web. I'm not saying that I'm going to try and spin a web, but watching can and should inspire action.
I dare you to move.