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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Keep The Iron Hot


There's a certain satisfaction we get from doing something difficult.

I don't know if I can accurately explain it, so forgive me if I stumble over some of the words, but I think that as humans, we have a somewhat masochistc streak about us.  How else do we explain our drive to persevere, to push against long odds, to accomplish what some people find at the very least improbable?  And why else would we, after doing the improbable, convince ourselves there's more to do, higher to go?  Do we enjoy the pain?  Are we as a species in love with the physical soreness, the headache, or the emotional fatigue that accompanies perseverance in sport, academia, or any other human endeavor?

The song stuck in my head lately opens with "There's nothing you can do that can't be done."  When you look at the sentence by itself, it's a little hard to decipher what John Lennon is saying; either keep pushing because it's doable, or don't waste your energy because its not.  There's is a pain involved either way, from the intense pain of pushing past an obstacle to eventual success to the crushing heartache in giving up and relegating the effort already put in to waste.  I firmly believe that most of us, the best of us, believe the former and strive for excellence, even if sometimes we lack the strength of conviction to actually do it.

We've all had the moment, where we stood atop our world, at the summit of our own self-made mountains.  And as people, we do one of two things: either we climb back down so we can start over, or we seek the next, higher peak on the right.  There's nothing wrong with either act; as a matter of fact, those two paths are really not htat different from one another.  It's merely a matter of perception.  Do we want to climb to 3,000 feet to climb back down and ascend another day? Or do we stop at 3,000 feet for a while, survey the cloudscape, and ascend another 3,000 feet?

Maybe I've misread it, and I'm the only masochist out there who likes the climb.  If that were the case though, I would be the only one on the mountain.  The quote says "It's lonely at the top."  I find that to be incomplete.  The rest should say "But there's a lot of traffic in the middle."

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