There are days when I am just so interested in hiding. Days where all I want to do is blend in, sit, and be. Days when I think about how much more straight forward things would be if I wasn’t pushing against the walls. Walls have a tendency to push back and there are days when it would so much easier to sit in the middle of the room and laugh at the crazy people on the edges. There are days.
The problem is that I’m just not wired that way. I have this problem with taking risks, I like them. When I was younger it meant I needed to do insane things on my bike, on the soccer field, or on a basketball court … its different now, but only the context has changed. I’m no longer able (or willing) to put my body through that kind of torture, but I am still willing to let it all hang out. I like to challenge myself and those around me. I know I drive people crazy with it all, but it is what it is — and it always has been.
I remember a half dozen years ago when I was at IST and I started the Blogs at Solutions Institute experiment. I asked everyone at SI to write in the open — to take the plunge, to risk throwing their voices into the wild, and to see what came back at them. I had recently read the Cluetrain Manifesto and was convinced that the web was going to be the platform that democratized education and I needed to see first hand what it all meant. I was interested in pushing at the walls until they caved on me and I can say they didn’t. But damn, it was scary.
I remember one of my colleagues at the time telling me it took him four hours to press the submit button on his first blog post because the World was going to read it. It had to be perfect.
On the web, as with riding a ramp, there are no do overs. Once it is in the wild the RSS is out there and the Internet is very unforgiving. I can go back in time and see what my early days on the web look like … long after I’ve pulled my thoughts down. It is a place where things seem to live a lot longer then we think they do. So I understand why it feels like a risk.
But you know what? Its the way things are. Time moves in only one direction. As much I’d love to be taking risks on that old orange GT freestyle bike, it just isn’t going to happen. Those days are over … the Internet is my skatepark and I plan to continue to push it and myself to the limit. I grow tired of arguments that push in the other direction and tell me that it is too hard to participate, that there isn’t time to be a part of it all, and that its going nowhere. All I can say is that there are really only two sides of history — the right and wrong. Where will I fall? I have no idea, but just like back in the day falling is part of the equation. You think learning how to do one footed 6 foot airs off the top of an eight foot quarter pipe comes without a cost? Think again. Sometimes we get humbled and other times we pull off something close to epic. Is epic worth the potential fall? For me? Every. Single. Time.