Constant Tension

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of living in a constant state of tension. It’s the state you are in when you are in slightly over your head.

The other day I read a post Seth Godin wrote about doing your best vs. doing everything you can. It’s worth a read if you have 30 seconds.

Over the last 8 months, I have been working with my partners to build a business. We saw a better way to service an industry, and we went for it. It’s been an incredibly challenging process because most of the time we are working on things we have never done before.

Meanwhile, my wife is homeschooling our 6-year-old. She saw a need that was not being met (she has a history of this) for our son through traditional school and decided to do something about it. Each day she wakes up and puts herself in a role she has never served before.

In both of these cases we are intentionally deciding to put ourselves in roles and responsibilities which are outside of our current levels of competency. It’s strange. It’s uncomfortable. It’s emotionally demanding. And…it’s completely worth it.

When I look around at our society, especially my generation, I see a majority of people who are afraid. They are afraid to act on their dreams. They are afraid of criticism. They are afraid of standing up for themselves. They are afraid of not fitting in, or of failing, or of hard work, or of not knowing the outcome.

Instead they live comfortably and within the limits of their capabilities. They are vulnerable to the decisions of others. They sit and wait instead of moving and taking action. They seek to control their lives by choosing to do what they know instead of doing what they want to do and or be who they want to become.

The cost of this behavior is the forfeiting of their personal responsibility. It’s choosing to allow others to have control over their lives. Worst of all, it is a decision to be complacent and ultimately become a regressed version of who they were created to be.

This is why we look to others to validate our behavior. We want someone or something to blame. If we see the rest of the group we associate with doing something, we are probably going to do it too. If it ends badly it’s not our fault. Everyone else was doing it.

It’s why when we say, “My boss won’t let me,” what we really mean is “My boss won’t take responsibility for my decision if my idea fails.” It’s important to understand the difference.

I know first hand, choosing to embrace tension is difficult. My wife will tell you the same thing. But we choose to live this way because we believe it is exactly how God created us to live. When we see an opportunity to improve, we will take it. And…we will teach our children to do the same.

Every day brings a new challenge and a new tension. And each day also brings a new level of satisfaction.

Which will you choose?