“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
Going to the edge is not how we’re wired. Our internal, anti-vertigo systems tells us to stay back.
Especially in The Back Forty, our tendency to play safe and keep things manageable is at a premium…because we have bruises and scars from when we didn’t.
Look at how we can sometimes be in an intimate relationship: either get used to the one we’re with and there’s no mystery left – because we wrangled either them or ourselves into a comfortable knowing (instead of growing?)…
we pursue and intend to attract that final, perfect partner while peering out at them and the world from deep inside our protective armor.
Look at how we can sometimes be in business or career growth: either we stay doing what we’ve always done because it meets our current thermostat (the amount of heat we can stand)…
we attempt to create a new venture or try a new path inside of our old mindsets of needing to do things “right” and have it all figured out.
None of these Play Safe ways of operating call for progress.
I see my own resistance to edginess when I’m called upon to create business plans and set up systems that are required to go to the next level of growth and contribution-ability. “I’ve just never been good at that!” or “I haven’t gotten that skill down yet”. All thoughts pulling for the center rather than the edge.
Kurt Vonnegut says “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Want to grow? Envision a new possibility or future? Step into your own promised land?
You have to go to the edge to accomplish it.
Here are a few tips to help embrace edginess:
1. Hear the Center Speaking
Try to notice when you feel that your pressing into uncharted (and thus perceived as rough) waters…and listen to what the Voice is saying.
If it’s the same standard line you’ve heard a thousand times, simply step aside from it. Realize it’s an old friend, with an emphasis on old. If you’re wanting new, then pay your respects to the old friend by saying “Thanks for that. I know you’re wanting the best for me.”
And then go do what you WANT to do, like you did as a teen when your parent told you what THEY wanted you to do.
2. Take a Risk
Look, whatever you do in this moment is not life altering, either way.
If you take the risk of sharing something very personal with your spouse or a date that your Play Safe Voice would be shocked by, you really never know what may come of it. You may open a door to intimacy you never thought possible.
If you don’t know how to do a perfect business plan or how to make the career change, try anyhow or get a coach. Taking a risk will get you further than sitting paralyzed by the Play Safe Voice.
At a minimum, you’ll learn something. In the best of all worlds, you’ll expand. For sure, you won’t die.
Return to tip 1.
Perhaps all progress depends on consistent edginess.
What areas of your life are you willing to walk out on the brink of so as to see another future?
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”