I see it every day – parents sheltering their kids from experiencing the world as they were meant to – by being involved wholly! We did it for a while, too. I remember when David was young, we never let him watch anything scary on television. It was Blue’s Clues and Elmo – which to me can be pretty scary – and that pretty much wrapped it up. We were doing him a favor, right?
Well, we thought we were, but let’s take a closer look. We took him to Disney on Ice one year, and when the “villains” came skating out, David began sinking down in his chair and closed his eyes. He was terrified! This behavior confused Darci and she didn’t know what was wrong with him! I knew what was wrong – he hadn’t eaten any dirt.
Dirt can be good for you
My mom always said, “Go outside and get dirty!” As a young boy, I was all about that! And getting dirty has its positives. Did you know exposing yourself to germs actually builds up your immune system? So a person who never gets exposed to certain things can be in danger of getting sick!
When you travel to foreign lands, you can be susceptible to germs you’ve never been exposed to, causing a danger of getting sick. You have little or no immunity to some diseases where you’ve never tread. Once you’re exposed to something, you may get sick, but then your immune system builds up antibodies that can fight off the disease the next time you come into contact with it. In fact, when you are vaccinated for something such as smallpox, they actually inject a dose of that very disease that cannot reproduce into your body. Your body fights off the disease and is programmed to make you immune.
When we saw David freaking out over the villains, we knew at that point we needed to stop being overprotective. He needs to be exposed to the world. Otherwise, he will be in for a shock in other areas of his life. We all need to be exposed to the real world. Otherwise, we’re all in for a big surprise!
Dirt is experience
I look at experience like eating some dirt. If you want to conquer something, get some experience! I remember when I first began teaching David to throw a ball. He looked hilarious! Then, as he tried again and again, he got better. Soon he was one of the best ball throwers on the team! It was awesome to watch, but without the practice and experience, he’d have never been able to throw a ball.
When I was on The Biggest Loser, I was thankful. I was thankful that I had played sports and gone through two-a-days in football. I was thankful that I “cut mud” on my Uncle Goddard’s paving crew and wore myself slick! I was thankful I wrestled – probably the hardest 5 minutes you’ll ever spend in your life. My dad exposed me to these things. Some dad’s didn’t. I saw some others on the show that never experienced the tough work I had. I think that helped me to do well on the show – that I had eaten some dirt before that time.
Get dirty to get successful
Most people want success to fall in their laps. Others try something, and at the first sign of adversity they give up. I’ve seen people (and I myself have) run the 99 yard dash over and over again. What is the 99 yard dash? It’s quitting when success could have been yours had you just kept going a little longer. I learned on my journey on The Biggest Loser that I had to Lose My Quit to win at anything in life. Success often takes time.
Huey Lewis and the News suddenly hit it big in the 1980’s, and people called them an overnight success. The truth was they had been a band for 20 years at that point! They had been playing the same style of music together for a long time before hitting it big. It’s just that people often see success and don’t see all of the work that goes into it. Huey Lewis and the News got out there for 20 years and ate some dirt – over and over again – until the time was right for their move into the big show.
Winning is a dirty business
When you fail, look at it from the perspective that you ate a little dirt. The germs you ingested made you stronger for the next time you come upon an opportunity. You’ll fail a little better next time, and eventually success will be yours! You just have to get up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.
So the next time you try to avoid failure, you just might be avoiding success! Don’t let your fear of failure steer you around the experience you need to succeed. Just get out there and eat a little dirt – you’ll eventually have everything you need to win!
Each month in The Journey Training, we see people realize that they’ve been avoiding the things that they need to experience to get what they truly want. Often, what you want is just beyond what you fear most. Why not enroll in the next Threshold class and find out just how successful you can be! I promise you, literally eating dirt won’t be a part of the weekend!