“Just Do It”—–Well, Sort Of

“I look at these old pictures from 20, 30, 40 years ago, and I think this: If you want to do something, damn well get off your ass and go do it. Time is fleeting. Be brave! Take that chance. Don`t dither.”

That quote above is a Facebook post I put out there  a day ago, and it must have resonated with people, because 170 of them “liked” it. But “JUST DO IT”, while it has a basic, somewhat mindless appeal, is too simplistic and too “easy”, because it avoids the nuances and subtleties of the lives we actually lead.

There`s a quotation that goes something like this: “How sad to grow old, and to look back, and to realize that one has never really lived.”  Which means, I think, that if we`ve had dreams, and we`ve avoided struggling to realize them, then we haven`t failed in the struggle, (because we never took the chance), but we also never had the chance to reach them. Which leads to another quotation, which some agree with, and some reject: “Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”

Having dreams isn`t like a Walt Disney movie, where, against all odds, the heroes and heroines always win. Dreams don`t always come true, so maybe it really is safer not to try, because this lets us avoid the heartache of failure. But then we have still another quotation to ponder, this one by Theodore Roosevelt:

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dirt and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the thrill of high achievement, and if he fails, at least fails daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

I guess, as another way of looking at this, we need to individually decide whether the certain avoidance of failure, (which means don`t try) is worth the equal certainty of being a cold and timid soul, at least as defined by Theodore Roosevelt.

If you are pretty sure that trying, and possibly failing, is better than not trying at all, then the next piece of the sequence is don`t dither. “Dithering” is such an easy trap. “I really want to—-ride in a preliminary event—-ride in a 100 mile ride—breed my own foal—-learn to jump—-get fit—-yougetthepoint—-and I certainly will do it soon.” But soon so readily turns into later, and later into later still, and do you want to look back some day and ask, : “Why, oh why, didn`t I just do it?”


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