Horses are Afraid, Go Karts Are Not

I have a mere eight minutes to post this, but the thoughts have been with me all weekend. I will expand on this later.

The ideas I have been writing about the past few weeks have been around extracting improved performance out of my existing set of capabilities. I’m a person, flawed in many ways, with a few good properties that might work really well if I knew how to manage them. The analogy I made was that I was a kind of go kart that (assuming good maintenance) would be able to perform at my best when driven intelligently. The analogy is a little flawed…I should really think of myself as a horse, not a vehicle.

Why a horse? Everything I know about horses comes from reading my sister’s horse books when I was a kid. What I understand is that they are rather high-strung, fearful, and jittery unless they have a good rapport with their rider. As a team, the rider and the horse can win races if they learn how to focus together.

The other day I was talking to my friend Angela, and she pointed out that maybe I lacked the guts to do a lot of the things I dream of doing. And on reflection, I realized she was right. As accomplished and competent as I am, I nevertheless have let my life be shaped by avoidance and by fear. In the areas that I have grown the most, I had identified and faced those fears. However, it’s easy to forget that my “preferences” for doing things certain ways are really a way to avoid feeling under scrutiny, out-of-place, lost, stupid, trapped, or incompetent. And what is interesting is that I can divide my skillset into ones that were developed primarily as a reaction to those fears. What is even MORE interesting is that there are also some skills I have that were developed as a reaction to joy. I’d never made that distinction before, and I think this might give me a way of determining with a little more certainty which skills should be adopted into my main line of work.

But I’m out of time. I’ll expand on this later.