Solomon – my son, my teacher, my wisdom, my seeing, personified as Solomon. He embodies life’s full expression and I have the privilege of witnessing and nurturing and learning from it.
Solomon takes joy in many things – eating strawberries, playing in water, music and dancing, and any new discovery that takes hold of his attention.
In recent months I’ve watched him as he plays one of his favorite games, what I call the Game of Gravity. The game is really simple: he takes things – shoes, watches, cellphones, pens, socks, books – throws them over the bannister and watches them fall to the landing below. His fascination with this is unending – he will do it for as long as there is light by which to see.
Then I made another observation involving Solomon and gravity. When I pick him up and swing him in the air his face expresses both excitement and fear. Quite a bit of fear if I swing through a bigger arc. I don’t do that anymore.
In these 2 observations I made a powerful distinction that applies to all of us.
When you embark on a venture of any kind, say a business, for example, it will serve you best if you make a game of it. Not a game as if you’re simply toying around with your project, no. A game in which you play full out to win without being attached to the outcome. And the surest way to be attached to the outcome is by failing to distinguish yourself from the outcome.
You see, as Solomon shows when throwing things over the bannister, when things fall, or ‘fail’, they simply fall or ‘fail’. That’s it. If you embark on a journey of a business venture or a new relationship you must first separate yourself from the desired outcome of your endeavor. Doing so not only gives you the advantage of a clearer vision via a measure of distance from which to view your work and your creation, you also have the added advantage of remaining clear of the impact, the ‘crash’, if it should fall through, or ‘fail’. And if it does succeed, which it no doubt will by your persistence and commitment, whether this project or another, then you will be spared the fate of Icarus.
Making the necessary distinction, separation, of yourself from your goal will maintain its pursuit as a fun game, a fascinating activity in which you get to not only see your creation but enjoy it along the way. And when the moments of stress do come, you will have the vision and dexterity to see them and navigate them like an experienced sea captain deftly making his way through a storm.
However, if you don’t separate yourself from your work, if you fail to distinguish your person from your project, if your ‘I failed’ or ‘It failed’ becomes ‘I am a failure’ then your endeavor will not be a game you play to win but a game you play not to lose.
In that case, you will experience fear, as did Solomon who was fearful when he was pulled by the gravity and not playing with the gravity.
Then your business becomes a burden, your relationship a risk, your life a loss. Your view becomes myopic and you are disabled from seeing solutions and possibilities as your vision gets crowded with problems, setbacks, limitations, and fearful projections. You will hide your pains and struggles, all created by you, from others in your effort to look good or avoid looking bad, or you might take the other approach of complaining and fretting to others about your struggles as a way to ease your way out of the back door of surrender, resignation, and fear.
Flying. Falling. Succeeding. Failing. Winning. Losing. You. It.
Gravity. It’s only a game.
Play it, have fun, you win. Succumb to it, have fear, you lose.
Now we know. Now, let’s play to win!
And Solomon, my son, I thank you. I love you.