“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
- John “The Penguin” Bingham
I was visiting another blog for the first time this week and the above quote was left in comments. I was introduced to the wit and wisdom of John Bingham through his regular feature “The Penguin Chronicles” in Runners’ World magazine at least 10 years ago. (No, I’m not a runner my boys did track and cross country.) His tagline quote always resonated with me but I never had a specific “start” that I associated with the sentiment.
Reading the quote anew after having forgotten about it for at least the past 6 years, maybe longer, a short list of things I had gathered enough courage to start (and a few even finished) began popping up over the past day. In light of my previous posts over the past two weeks of things not started, never finished which was a tad on the uncomfortable side to be transparent about; these little gems had me smiling.
One of the brick walls people who are trying to change life tracks run into is starting. They often have a desire, maybe a goal or destination, and sometimes they have a full blown benchmarked strategy to make their change happen. But, they can’t quite seem to get started. Picking up that first foot and setting it down a few inches in front of the other one is unbelievably difficult. Sometimes it’s a voice (real or imagined) that whispers either “what do you think you’re doing” or “who do you think you are.” Sometimes things come up that push starting to the backburner for ostensibly practical reasons.
But for some people there is not some one-time event that derails their attempt to start their new program. Those individuals are good talkers but not good walkers. They latch onto calls to give away their time and energy to another cause again and again, all the while bemoaning that they are never going to become their new self. To be fair, sometimes we can be so buried in a life ideology that we can’t get a reality check from ground-level. Sometimes the lack of perspective is skewed by other voices which are louder or at least more emphatic. For some though there is a resistance to being open to the idea that things are not as one believes they are, and in those cases there will be no starting (no change) until they become receptive to external information about the situation.
So now that we’ve dissected some reasons why it’s hard to start and why it takes courage to start let’s talk about some things we’ve started that definitely took courage.
- Untangling a mystery from the past
- Contacting old acquaintances (and some I still communicate with after 6 years)
- Returning to university (and finishing my BA)
- Went on a silent retreat even though I wouldn’t know another soul there
- Started a blog (and we’re still here)
- Writing a weekly community column for the paper
Do you have something that took courage to start but you did it anyway? Share in comments or write your own post.
1a. Exit strategy
3. Net worth