We all like the idea of security. Because, you know, it makes us feel safe. We like to pretend we’ve got it figured out. We rig things with alarm bells, helmets, airbags and insurance policies. It’s the smart and right thing to do.
But what if security is actually kind of dangerous? What if we’ve got it all backwards? What if all these protections and certainties lull us into a stupor – believing life should be easy and cushioned? Do we really think that if we plan and plot enough we can avoid our own annihilation or at least avoid looking like a fool?
This week I read a couple of great parenting articles (that are good for everyone to read) about just that: we think we are keeping kids safe – but we might actually be hindering their growth. The only real way to build resilience is to test yourself, fail and test yourself again. It is the only way to learn self-reliance and a sense of humor towards failure.
I also read this wonderful interview with Tom Robbins where he calls this “Crazy Wisdom”: For want of a precise definition, we might consider that crazy wisdom is a philosophical worldview that recommends swimming against the tide, cheerfully seizing the short end of the stick, embracing insecurity, honoring paradox, courting the unexpected, celebrating the unfamiliar, shunning each and every orthodoxy, volunteering for those tasks nobody else wants or dares to do, and perhaps above all else, breaking taboos in order to destroy their power. It’s the wisdom of those who turn the tables on despair by lampooning it, and who neither seek authority nor submit to it.
Now, I’m not suggesting you give up seat belts or pick up self-destructive habits. But I am suggesting you think about physics, extreme sports and how babies learn to walk. I encourage you to go straight into situations that feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar and illogical.
In our house we like to use the expression “Get Rad” – which is to say:
If you are cautious on a snowboard you will eat it.
If you are cautious on a bicycle you will eat it.
If you are cautious in love you will eat it.
If you are cautious with opportunity you will eat it.
The paradox is: even if you are fearless – you will likely eat it too.
It is impossible to avoid crashing and burning at all times.
So you might as well get started.
Just lighten up and keep going.
The only way forward is to take the next wave is fearlessly. The only way to know your edge is to push right up to it and trust that the universe and your own skill will eventually hold you up. You will look like a fool. You will inevitably meet annihilation. Might as well get started.
Go ahead, Shred.