As a yoga teacher, I will often throw in challenging poses like handstands that I know are going to be too difficult for most of the people to master easily.
No, not because I’m mean and I want to see them fail, but because I think it’s good to get used to the feel and prep of harder poses so eventually they will be able to do them.
Almost every time though, there’s a few students who sit on the floor and just watch no matter how many beginner steps I give them.
They sit there contentedly smiling and cheering other students on who are trying and failing, but never actually attempting it themselves, believing it’s not for them.
I believe that to grow we must be willing to try things that challenge us and see what we can do even if we suck at it, and yoga is no exception.
So when I ask the students on the floor why aren’t they trying, it’s rarely because of an injury, it’s because they believe they aren’t qualified yet.
These are the most common excuses I hear:
I’m not strong enough yet.
I don’t think I can do it.
I’m not ready to try it yet.
No shit, so is everyone else.
But instead of even testing to see if they can, they wait on the sidelines until they’re going to feeeeel ready for it.
Here’s the thing, we will never feel ready or qualified enough for the things life throws at us.
Ready is a myth, and a terrible excuse for not participating in your life.
I am also willing to bet my car (don’t be too excited, it’s not that awesome) that these same people live their whole lives sitting on the sidelines waiting, and we are all the person at different times in our lives.
So often, we watch opportunities slip through our fingers to protect ourselves so we don’t have to be uncomfortable or get hurt.
If we don’t fully engage with life we will be left with a long list of regret, and a whole pile of should haves.
The deepest learnings in life don’t come from theories in a book, they come from jumping in and figuring shit out.
You don’t have to do this recklessly, but it does mean getting your hands dirty, giving yourself permission to be vulnerable, and understanding that failure is not a character flaw,
And the rewards? Emotional resilience (one of the markers for happiness), confidence (which can only be attained by doing things that challenge us), and acquiring abilities faster than your peers (you will be ahead of the game).
You are not put on this earth to make people like you, or even to not look stupid, you are here to make a dent in the universe and that is impossible watching from the sidelines.
Go on, and get on your hands!