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!
FREE Mini Journey Training
Discover How To Find More Passion and Purpose In Your Life!
You may have seen a report recently about two climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, who became the first to successfully free climb the “Dawn Wall” route of Yosemite’s El Capitan face. January 14, 2015 marked the end of a 19 day trek up the sheer rock face that placed them in the record books.
Seven years of planning and a lifetime of practice in completing other complex free climbs prepared this duo for achieving what many, including themselves, considered an impossible feat.
The climb took them up a path that traveled back and forth and even downward at times as they headed toward the summit. In preparation, they spent countless hours rappelling down the face of the rock to map even the smallest cracks or ledges that they could utilize to make their way to the summit. Each successful foothold or handhold represented movement toward their ultimate goal.
Aided only by safety ropes should they slip and fall, which they did multiple times (Jorgeson fell 11 times on just one section of the climb), they successfully completed each of the 32 sections or pitches before moving to the next.
At the end of each days climbing, they rested on a “portaledge,” a temporary horizontal surface with a rainfly, and suspended themselves from the face of the wall in order to get some much needed rest from the physical demands of free climbing. Every few days, supplies were delivered to the climbers by their friends on the ground who were acting as their support team.
How can you apply their achievement to your life? Are you wanting to reach a goal, quit a bad habit, or overcome an addiction?
Look at the lessons below and apply them to your situation:
Size up your challenge and plan appropriately. Lack of planning in a free climb may spell death. Fortunately, lack of planning to reach your goal or make a life change is rarely life threatening, however it can certainly result in setbacks in your attempt at change. Minimize your potential for setbacks with planning that is appropriate in complexity to the challenge at hand.
Imagine your own rock wall you need to traverse. The bottom represents where you are today, the summit – where you want to be, and the wall between the bottom and the summit are the challenges, behaviors, temptations, and old habits you’ll have to overcome to reach your goal.
• Between you and success are potential opportunities to fail or succeed.
You’ve studied your behavior patterns and have identified the potential areas that you might sabotage yourself or just make a mistake and experience temporary failure.
• Every forward step matters, even if it is a small one.
Just like the climbers, a minute ledge or foothold may be all you need to keep moving toward your goal. You may feel like some of the steps you take don’t matter, but you’d be wrong. Every step in the right direction takes you toward your new goals, so celebrate each and every one of them!
What is one small step you can take toward overcoming your old ways?
• The path usually isn’t straight and it’s not going to be easy.
Remember the saying, “the shortest path between two point is a straight line?” That may be mathematically accurate, but it is rarely the case when making life changes or achieving a goal. Just like Jorgeson and Caldwell, the path for your success will undoubtedly take you sideways and possibly backwards at times. Mapping your path ahead of time helps you keep your focus and not lose heart when you don’t “feel” like you are making progress or it appears to others that you are losing ground.
Keep in mind, even when Jorgeson or Caldwell fell, they didn’t fall all the way back to the starting point. Slipping when you reach for a crack to hold onto or when you place your foot on a small ledge doesn’t mean you’ve failed with a capital “F”, it merely means you’ve experienced a momentary setback and have an opportunity to learn how to better identify your next small step and try again for success. Successful people know that they learn as much or more from their “failures” as they do from their successes. As Arthur Greeno, a Journey Training facilitator states, “Failure is always an option. But so is Success.”
What “failures” have you experienced in the past? Did you learn from them or treat them with a capital “F” and give up? What lessons can you learn from your past setbacks that can empower and energize you toward future successes?
• Have an accountability partner and support team.
Any task that we can reach by ourselves probably isn’t stretching us much and causes us to live in comfortable mediocrity. Reach for a larger goal or develop better lifestyle choices that require you to enlist the help of others. The help may come in the form of a mentor, coach, or accountability partner. The key to remember here is that you can’t achieve great things in life alone. Everyone needs support in some form or fashion.
Even Jorgeson and Caldwell had each other and a National Geographic Camera crew for accountability and encouragement. Add to that, their family and friends were there to provide assistance and supplies when needed.
Who are your accountability partners to help keep you keep on track? Who do you have around you to provide encouragement? Who do you have to help sustain you during long treks in your journey?
It is worth it.
So why endure all of the planning, frustration, setbacks, vulnerability, and reliance on others? Because it’s worth it! You are worth it! It’s worth all of this for you to become a better you and to help you in your pursuit in overcoming “impossible” obstacles. When you become a better you, then you can help others better themselves.
For more information on Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell’s climb of the “Dawn Wall” of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan rock, see the links below.