Thursday, July 23, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True

This advice was given by Polonius to Richard III penned by Will Shakespeare. It is as true today as it was then. (He also advised "neither a borrower nor lender be - great advice too!)

Part of the fun of living is discovery. One of the best discoveries you can make is discovering who you are. I don't mean what your name is, or even who your ancestors were. (I, for my part, have become my own ancestor. Started my own clan. Sort of my own grandpa. But I digress...which is normal for me.)

A couple of years ago, I wanted to start a bicycling club in our area. I am passionate about cycling and specifically long-distance cycling. However, I am in the minority. So I began riding with some others who ride medium distance (40 - 60 miles), and built friendships (don't let that word fool you, though). After a year, I made a real stab at a cycling club. All my riding friends were on board. Yea! Or so I thought.

I had a very strong idea of the usefulness a cycling club would have to the cycling community and the non-cycling world as well. I applied minimum pressure on the areas of disagreement in order to maintain the cooperation of others. I had a strong preference for a style of riding which I wanted to promote as well. Again, I applied minimum pressure in this area in order to maintain the cooperation of others. Bad idea.

It wasn't as if I didn't have the courage of my convictions (although that did happen several years ago at a pastor's meeting where they were pushing for the Ten Commandments to be posted on every vertical surface - an idea I strongly oppose - and I still have lingering regrets that I didn't stand up and at least get thrown out of that meeting), anyway, it wasn't for lack of courage, or even for lack of direction, but I wanted to cooperate and play together. (I always got low marks in school on the category "Plays well with others". Go figure.)

I just thought that if everyone worked together, then some of my goals might be reached, and some of other people's goals might be reached, and somehow, something useful might be done. Boy was I wrong.

I am convinced now that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who do and those who criticize and complain. And those who do need to be true to their own selves, because those who criticize and complain are being true to their own selves.

Rodney King wanted us to all get along. We might be able to all get along, but we will never get anywhere, by just getting along. (You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. You have to boil a few pigs to make lard. You have to... you get the idea.) Those who want to succeed, need to discover their passion, and be willing to pay the price to achieve their dreams, even or especially if the price is doing it solo. (Of course, it goes without saying that your dream needs to be small enough to accomplish solo, otherwise you're back to trying to get others on board. And we all know what a headache that can be!)

Here's the bottom line to this rambling diatribe. Discover where you want to be. Head there. If anyone follows - lead them. If no one follows - be true to yourself, since you may only have yourself for company on the way to your Nirvana.

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