Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brave and Stupid

Sounds like characters out of a movie.  "Brave" and "Stupid".  You picture "BRAVE"  :  Strong, heroic, good-looking, in-shape, relentless.  You picture "Stupid":  clumsy, not-confident, mismatched. Brad Pitt movies vs Adam Sandler movies.

That's the picture.  That's not reality.  There is a much different version of "Brave" and "Stupid".  They are actually much closer than they appear. 

People tell me all the time:  "You are brave".  Am I brave because of the outcome?  Am I brave because I succeeded in the venture?  What if I failed?  "would I then be reckless or stupid?"  Does our "outcome" predict our future?

If you are a "regular" here on the blog, you know I traded my house last summer for a house in Hawaii.  Upon telling friends/family I was doing this - the reaction was varied.  Congratulations.  How cool.  Can I come with you?  What about your stuff?  Do you trust these people?  Do you know these people?  What about your cat? What if they destroy your house?  What if you get there and it's not what they said?



"Hey, call me and I'll do I what I can to help you, if it isn't what you thought".  There were a few "Do you have a back up plan?"

Are we really stupid in life or is it just what people have been telling us all these years?  "Oh, I could NEVER do that".    That fine line between Brave and Stupid.

SO, let's run the story the other way. 

    I had arrived in Hawaii to find  a beat up car and a run down house and they were en route to my house?
    I had come home and my house was trashed?
    My cat had run away and they had wrecked my car?
   On and on and on?

It would be really interesting to compare the people whom wanted to come with me to the people whom believed in me....

IF the second thing had happened, would I be labeled as "STUPID" not "BRAVE"?  However, since the whole thing was a success, I was "BRAVE".

  • Taking a risk
  • Trying
  • Knowing the potential will be worth more than what you have
  • Accepting you can fail, even when you take that risk
  • Driving drunk
  • Not listening to your instinct
  • Not doing your homework
  • Not trying
Not "Brave" and "Stupid"- there is a difference in the two, but the line is much finer than we think.  More like Brave/Stupid.

For instance:  I once went skiing with an old boyfriend, his girlfriend and a male friend of mine.  We went down an incredible run.  Then the girlfriend and I ended up riding up on a lift together.  She said to me:  "So, how do you know Justin?"  Seriously?  I'm sure my look was pure shock.  "You don't know who I am?" I wanted to say.  And in that moment, he went from BRAVE to STUPID.  "He didn't tell you I was the love of his life? And it wasn't going to work out between us?""  Okay, I didn't say all that - and THAT was the moment - he owed me.  He risked it all.  HE WAS BRAVE.  He would have only been stupid if he had known I wouldn't volley, but he knew I would. Truly, I told the truth, "We met years ago, I'm a recruiter, and we've been connected ever since."

However, maybe he wanted me to tell her all his secrets.  It would have let him off the hook.  Maybe I wasn't brave.  Was I the stupid one?  The one that held his secret?

I have a story to tell.  I know I've told this story before, but I'm not sure I've told more than one person or maybe two.  I can tell you a defining moment in my life about Brave and Stupid.

        I was 32 years old.  I had just moved out of the house with my husband and kids.  I was living in a 2 bedroom "row house" in Washington Park.  I had been laid off.  So, basically, I had no husband, 50/50 custody of my kids, no job and no house.  If you look at "standards" in life, I was failing.  I was buying a business.  It was April 30th.  In the middle of the night, I woke up in a cold sweat.  I called the business broker - it was 4:30 in the morning.  I can't do it.  Sorry!  
     I had never awoken in cold sweat.  I couldn't do it.  I had given it everything I had.  I had tried.  I had tried it all.  I couldn't take one more step.  I will go get a job.

     24 hours passed.  This time when I awoke in the middle of the night?  "What if I fail?"  And the voice inside my head said:  "So what?"  "What if you fail?".  Then I thought for a moment.  WORST CASE SCENARIO:  What is the WORST thing that can happen?  WORST THING?.  
  • This whole thing falls apart
  • I could have no place to live
  • I could fail
  • I could have to file bankruptcy

No, the worst thing that could EVER happen to you:
  • Staying married to a guy you don't love
  • In a job you don't like
  • In a career you don't want to do.
THAT, would be worse than filing bankruptcy?

These things don't mean you won't hurt if you fail.  Failure hurts.  Truly, the only failure there is, well, is the failure to try.  And failing to try doesn't make you "stupid".  It might just make you smart.  You know yourself.

I won't judge you.  I'm here to support you - call when you want to try - I'll help you pick up the pieces.  Or I'll help you celebrate your victory.  It's okay if you don't want me there for the victory lap - I've done my part.

Just go be brave.

And just go try.  It doesn't make you stupid.  It makes you brave. 

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