“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air.”
– Wilbur Wright
Do me a favor. Stand up and give yourself a big-ass round of applause.
No, I’m being serious. Get up, put your hands together and clap. Be proud, you’ve earned it.
Lately, I’ve gotten so many thank you’s I’m actually starting to feel a little guilty.
Was that a humblebrag? Yes, that was a humblebrag. How douchy..
There’s a reason you should be praising yourself today. And no, it isn’t “World Narcissism Day”. Although maybe we could use a little bit more of that?
Look, there are plenty of A-class A-holes who do nothing but beat their chests, put their names on buildings and go “Look at me, aren’t I awesome?”, and I’m guessing you aren’t one of them.
In fact, I’d bet you’re probably the opposite. You take way less credit than you deserve.
When someone says to you “Good job!”, do you follow up the “Thank you!” with a really quick “But the real credit belongs to…”?
Admirable, sure. But you’re also stealing the opportunity for that person to be grateful to you as well as feeling proud about your accomplishments.
You might’ve heard about the “Dunning-Kruger“ effect. Basically it’s when a person thinks they’re more superior or knowledgeable than they really are. You know the phrase “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”? Yeah, that’s highly applicable here.
I don’t get the sense that this is the problem. It’s more likely the opposite. I think you’re far better than you’re giving yourself credit for.
Look, while you might be getting sage advice or support from people you’re still the one going through the daily grind.
It’s like having a personal trainer. The reason you show up at the gym might be out of a sense of obligation or the fact that you’re paying the PT or whatever.
But here’s the truth. You want to get into shape? Well, you’ve got to put in the time & effort.
It’s not gonna happen by throwing money at the problem, plus it’s not something where you can hand the responsibility over to someone else.
About 8 years ago I got to meet some amazing people who helped turn my life around. I’ll forever be indebted to them. Will I ever be able to repay them? Probably not.
But here’s what I’ve learned.
Do not say “No” to help out of some false sense of “not being worthy”. When good people reach out a hand, you grab it.
You might never be able to repay them directly. So, you repay by living the best possible life you can.
And when you get the opportunity to help someone else? You grab it, that way the chain goes on.
I started writing this post and then took a break to watch “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. I was curious to see the interview with Ted Cruz. Well, turned out he had to cancel due to work.
Instead Jon had the author David McCullough on. His book “The Wright Brothers” has just been waiting to be read since the 28th of May. After finishing Coelho’s “The Alchemist” (read by Simba’s homocidal uncle Jeremy Irons) I’m definitely jumping on that one!
I’d heard the stories about how Samuel Pierpont Langley just kept throwing money (approximately $70.000) at the project of putting people up in the air. Meanwhile two brothers came out on top with a bicycle shop and less than $1.000 beat him.
The interesting thing was that in December of 1903 Langley had his last failed attempt at flight. He would not try again.
A couple of days later on the 17th of December the Wright Brothers did what Langley had failed to accomplish. The first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight.
What truly touched me during the interview with McCullough was the story about how Wilbur and Orville would take turns to fly and didn’t fly together. The reason?
They knew that they could die. They flew solo so that in case something happened to one of them the other would continue the work.
Fortunately for us, this is rarely the case in our day to day experiences.
Now, they didn’t accomplish it all by themselves. They did get help. Also, they managed to give credit where credit is due.
“The ability to do this so quickly was largely due to the enthusiastic and efficient services of Mr. C.E. Taylor, who did all the machine work in our shop for the first as well as the succeeding experimental machines.”
– Orville Wright
“I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then, if possible, add my mite to help on the future worker who will attain final success.”
– Wilbur Wright
They were humble. They also had the willingness to accept that help. To tell themselves that what they were trying to accomplish was worth other people’s time and effort.
Were they sure they could ever succeed or repay them? No. There were no such guarantees.
Recently I watched “Pay It Forward”. There was a scene where the homeless addict Jerry (Jim Caviezel) talks to Arlene (Helen Hunt) about how her son Trevor (Haley Joel Osment) helped him out. I’d urge you to see this movie but I’ll give you the part of the dialogue that really stuck with me:
You ever been on the street?
My mom took us pretty close.
Well, you can’t know. Not until you’re looking at a dumpster. But when you climb into that thing for the first time and you pull those newspapers over you, that’s when you know you’ve messed your life up. Somebody comes along like your son, and gives me a leg up, I’ll take it. Even from a kid, I’ll take it.
I hope things don’t need to get this desperate for you. But after we’ve received the help and we decide what to do? It’s all on us.
Again, I’ll never be able to reciprocate all the wonderful people who helped me out along the way.
But I understand what it means to be down on your luck. And how much just accepting a little bit of help can do to get you back on your feet.
Even the slightest change of course right this second can make a huge difference in the trajectory of your life.
You see a helping hand reaching out for you?
Grab it and hold on tight.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!