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Backup vs Humility



In a freewheeling conversation with a colleague not too long ago, she regaled me with a storytelling class she attended. Instead of subjecting herself to the vagaries of life – which undoubtedly offered many reasons to put off taking the class, even making the idea sound almost sacrilegious, she gently assuaged the voice that was seeking to thwart her plans. In other words, she gave ‘backup’ the finger.

What is backup? Backup is security, money in the bank, ancestral property, more money in the bank, paid vacation, a paid sabbatical, retirement, to name a few. Backup entails waiting for life to make time for that elusive storytelling class. Backup is critical and not be undervalued. But the problem with it is it’s never enough.

Here’s what is needed in significant amounts – humility.To accept that your current job will precipitate early onset Alzheimer’s, that your marriage is a farce (if you’re headed for divorce, it would do you good to divide your backup by half ), that been you’ve been living a lie, that you’ve unwittingly lived someone else’s life. If you use backup to push humility into a corner, the chances of ever taking a leap are as remote as an America that genuinely cares about the well-being of the world.

When humility overrides backup, you do what Ray Bradbury advocates:

‘If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

And you'll find you need to resort less to storytelling as a means to  to cover your lack of a  bias for action. 

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