Friday, December 10, 2010

Achievement

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all--young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current is what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."

The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks and you will die quicker than boredom!"

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"

And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."

But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior.

From Illusions (The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)
Richard Bach

I love Richard Bach's preface to Illusions. It captures so well the essence of what it takes to achieve all that we are capable of achieving and the primary reason that we don't.

So often, those whom we recognize as achievers are simply the beneficiaries of strong genes, significant resources, situational advantage or luck. It's not that they overcome great obstacles and stretch the boundaries of what is possible; it's simply that they were in the right place at the right time.

And yet we celebrate them because they've attained heights beyond the reach of most of us. We never recognize that their base camps were established also beyond the reach of most of us or that they too have clung to their alpine river beds, never beginning to the transformation from potential to reality.

Meanwhile, those who have achieved the most, those who've covered unfathomable distances from the depths of dispair or poverty or mediocracy to the something unimaginable to their peers, go unnoticed. The obstacles overcome and the distances traveled cannot be appreciated because we see not the vector, but the end-point.

Achievement lies not in where you end up, but instead, in how far you've come. And the critical first step in going far is letting go of that to which you cling.

Happy Friday!
Teflon

2 comments:

  1. 'thou shall not worship false idols?'
    iow...external representations....look within, worship, honor, the gift which is within? bw

    ReplyDelete
  2. BW, so great to have you back in the mix!

    ReplyDelete

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