This past week, while brainstorming some profound wisdom to impart in my last column, I took a break from my musings and jump-roped all around Doane.
This is not the wildest, hardest or most spontaneous thing I have done at Doane, but, as I discovered while jumping, it is a great teacher of life lessons. Regardless of whether or not you decide to take up distance jump-roping, I hope these lessons push you along towards wherever you need to be.
Failing does not make you a failure
While jump-roping, I messed up and had to restart 168 times. I did not enjoy whacking my back and calves, but the brief pain and embarrassment of tripping over myself were less powerful than the joy of doing something new and exciting. In the journey of life, failures do not define you or stop you; they are just marks on the road you travel.
2. Invest in Patience, Perseverance and Practice
Life is a series of stumbles, and yet, moves on despite it all. While hopping around, sometimes I got a hundred feet without any mistakes. Other times it took me more than a minute to travel ten feet. It felt great to make progress and hurt when I moved at a glacial pace. However, my best and worst moments both had me moving towards a destination. We do not know when we will arrive or how many times we will fail. However, no obstacles are enough to keep us from where we are going.
3. Perfection and Expectations are myths
You set yourself up for disappointment if you expect to get it all right and have everything go as planned. I learned that lesson 168 times.
4. It is okay to look ridiculous
It is not every day that one sees a grown man hopping up and down a sidewalk, tripping over himself while getting tangled in a jump rope. I would not be surprised if a passersby thought I looked ridiculous or silly. More power to them. Regardless of what you do, someone is always going to judge you and tell you what you can and cannot do. If you listen to them, you might fit in. However, you only find yourself when you take the risk to walk your own path, despite what others think, say, or do.
5. Have fun and follow your passion
Thank goodness distance jump roping is not a competitive sport. There is no winner or loser when you compete against yourself. Regardless if you are the world’s best or worst at something, let yourself enjoy it. Despite what medals, titles and stats may say, no one is better or worse than you. In the grand game of life, we all start and finish the same way, so the name of the game is making the most out of however long you have on this strange rock.
6. Leave room for humor and laughter
I will be the first to admit that I cannot take myself seriously. When I lost my ID card while jump roping, instead of being worried, I just smiled and wondered if safety would believe me when I told them how I lost it.
7. Live in the moment…or be ready to get whacked by a jump rope
Life is like a jump rope; when you lose track of it, it tends to swing around and whack you in the back. Believe it or not, I thought of this article while jump roping around campus. Unfortunately, brainstorming and jump roping do not go hand in hand. While cataloging my thoughts and outlining the article, I ended up tripping over myself and struggling to keep the rhythm. Only after I stopped planning, was I able to make any progress.