Humility: A Vehicle for Mobility or Stagnation?

Mobility-or-StagnationDoubt and humility are too often confounded in life - or perhaps only within my own life. But truly, where is the line drawn? Where does one’s respect for the work to be done switch to one’s doubt for the sheer possibility that the work can be done? Where do grace and poise degrade to fear and cowardice?

I  like to see myself as humble. Just like most labels though, I wonder if my perceived humility is a front for something else, a comfortable classification of a larger issue I honestly don’t want to delve into on a daily basis. I mean, who wants to walk around saying, “No really, I’m just sort of a wimp. No big deal.” Humble: totally the better descriptor. And yet, what is so bad about being a little afraid? Life is freaking complicated, why shouldn’t you be anxious? The question is though, how do you allow that trepidation to manifest itself: in cowardice or in humility? Cowardice suggests stagnation – the inability to act when hyped up on fear. Humility, while not discounting doubt, allows for mobility within the questioning of the self.

Step back: So I decided to join a crossfit gym. For reals this time (this will be paleogirl does crossfit at a box take 2.) I wanted a place to just be an athlete, and a place to push me beyond what I could do by myself. Basically, I wanted to be surrounded by a whole bunch of people better at lifting heavy things off the ground than I. I do this sort of thing all the time: aka put myself in uncomfortable situations because from afar the expected self-growth seems like a stellar plan. Then I get there, and have a serious FML moment. Example 1: summer camp. Hate camp. Hate forced bonding. Don’t really like cabins. Example 2: Canvassing (asking people for money on the street for the environment and other notable causes.) Don’t like talking to strangers. Hate asking people for money. In fact, I don’t even like standing for extended periods of time if I don’t have to – I’m totally that awkward sitter. And yet, here I was again. Camp, (metaphorical camp or course, crossfit is way cooler than camp…) but with more hipply tattooed, muscular people – who were no doubt better at lifting heavy things off the ground than I – and you know what: who cares? I’m sort of charmingly hip, in a bright color wearing, Paleo baking sort of way. I can at least get a bar with some weight on it from the ground to where it’s supposed to go with moderate efficiency. And I do want a tattoo at some point. I think.

Where this roundabout story is going – besides filling you in on some of my sub-par life choices, and that I’m super awkward in real life – is that upon finishing the first workout (which I totally pulled a new kid on and messed up the reps) I was humbled. Sure, there was a whole lot of self-doubt in there too, but more than anything I was thrilled because along with that doubt was possibility: the chance to get stronger.

What I’m trying to say is that fear is not your worst enemy in the gym or elsewhere because within humility there is always a little fear simply through the recognition that success isn’t necessarily imminent. Don’t allow yourself to step away from something daunting with the excuse of humility – “I simply don’t have the capacity to do that,” because that isn’t being humble, it’s being scared. Humility is an admirable trait in an athlete, perhaps one of the most admirable traits an athlete can have, but in attempting humility, don’t allow yourself to get intertwined in self-doubt. Be humble, poised, and gracious, but be fierce, tenacious, and mobile. Don’t let humility be an excuse for stagnation. Let it be an opportunity for growth. And oh man, do I have a lot of growing to do. First week of crossfit (take 2), here I come!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply