Saturday 4 January 2014

转载:On Being Lost and Being an Explorer

It’s been a while since I’ve written my open letter to fear of failure. And my fear? She still comes and goes. I can’t say that I feel less fear, but now, when the fear knocks on my door, I can undo the locks, welcome her in, pour her a cup of tea even, and chat with her until she’s ready to leave. I ask when she’ll be back and, as usual, she winks and says: “when you least expect it.” Somehow, I’m okay with that.
What I’m not yet comfy with is a new sensation, a new terror: the feeling of being completely lost.
Maybe this is just part of being an entrepreneur - especially of running a business the likes of which no one has run.
Maybe it’s an extension of living in this new, speeding-past-you world we’ve created.
Or maybe it’s the experience of every human, and I’m the only one whining about it.
I don’t know. But I will tell you that it can be crippling. Not in the sense that I tuck myself into a corner and do nothing, but in the sense that time that could be spent on action gets spent on imaginary quests like getting a sure-thing plan or the perfect advice or finding a map. But a map to where…?
No one can tell me just how to get there. Especially since no one, not even I, can know where I am going.
Maybe that’s the problem. This obsession with the where. Sometimes even the when.
I spoke to my husband Brian about this terror-of-being-lost as we were peddling side by side on stationary bikes at the gym (a perfect metaphor for how far I felt I was getting in life). Without slowing down he said: “You are an explorer. Explorers are lost. If they knew where they were going, they wouldn’t be explorers.” (That little husband of mine says some really profound stuff).
I’m an explorer then. Which means that there is no map for me - only the desire to discover. And perhaps once I’ve made my discoveries, I will draw a map filled with zig-zagging lines leading to “X marks the spot,” but when I hand it to the explorer who comes after me, I will tell him:
“If you choose to follow this map, remember that you will only be a tourist in somebody else’s land. Being a tourist is fine and great for photo ops, but there will come a time when you will wonder what lies past the sharp edges of my map. And perhaps you will even find the courage to get lost and step past these boundaries that I have drawn. And when you do - you will discover a whole new world.”
(P.S. The photo above is my favorite map from my favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth.)

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