The road to Lamesilla

Last week Alex Honnold free soloed Yosemite’s El Capitan.

I was discussing the awesomeness of his accomplishment with some friends. One waved her hand dismissively. Explaining away his feat in terms of a death wish, telling us people who do stuff like that… end up dead.

I found that a pretty narrow take because the reality is 100% of the people who do… well, anything, end up dead.

You don’t need a death wish to end up dead. You just need to be alive.

I think her point was that people like Alex tend to get dead sooner. She’s probably right… but really… what difference does it make? If you’re on the God squad… you move on to your eternal basking in Gods glory sooner. And if you’re not… you’ll be feeding the worms earlier than planned.

That’s pretty much the range of it.

Apparently, most don’t see it that way. They’ve been convinced that if they live slowly… and safely enough they’ll see the end coming and be able to get out of the way.

Maybe that’s true. But as the saying goes, you don’t get to eat your cake and have it too. The side effect of a lifestyle aimed at keeping death distant is total boredom.

When your biggest risk is trying a cappuccino from an unknown cafe that has only 3 stars on trip advisor, I think it’s safe to say you’ve negated any possible benefit that could come from your enhanced longevity.

People don’t slow play life because of their passion for it. They’re procrastinating. Paradoxically – the more you try to hold onto life the less you live.

Somehow in my lifetime the future has morphed from being promising to threatening. So we rely on yesterday to repeat itself. The sun will come up… and if we stick to the script, we won’t die.

This is the thinking that can been found at the core of so many failed strategies… and sports contracts. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.

In fact, since today is the oldest you’ve ever been. It carries with it the highest probability you’ve ever had of dying.

But I’ll bet you didn’t approach this day with that in mind. No… the safety tribe would have you celebrating the beauty… and brevity of your life by sacrificing today for tomorrow. That’s the safer… more financially savvy play. It also makes you bankable. Don’t worry, you’ll collect your reward… someday.

You’ve got a rich future… and a bankrupt present.

How can you think you’re making a good trade of your time when you can’t possibly know what percentage of it you’re trading?

If you knew with certainty that no matter how hard, or smart, or creatively, or safely, or long, or short, or responsibly, or irresponsibly you did someone else’s bidding… you’d end up broke. I guarantee you’d make a change.

Yet this is exactly what will happen with your life. No matter how you play it… you will go away in the end.

You absolutely can’t be trusted until you realize that.

Because when the knowledge that you will certainly die hits you like “being shot with a diamond bullet right through your forehead”… when your illusions about life and special purposes and meanings are shattered and lie in pieces at your feet… when you see your life for what it truly is… a flash of lightning in a timeless storm.

This is when you’re finally free to be yourself.

How long it lasts is irrelevant. All that matters is what you create… how bright you shine.

So listen… we’re all counting on you. Take a deep breath. Throw a rope around life. Wrestle it to the ground. Climb aboard. Grab a fistful of mane… and please don’t let go. Ride it all the way to the bloody end… no matter the cost. Inspire us. Show us what’s possible.

And if you burn so brightly that the Gods recruit you early… we’ll hoist a cup in your honor and tell your story until late in the night.