Tuesday, April 8, 2008


It takes a lot of guts to do something first.

-first to move away from home
-first to stay near home
-first to go to college
-first to work a trade
-first to be an artist
-first to get married
-first to NOT get married
-first to leave an unhappy marriage
-first to have kids
-first to NOT have kids
-first family to put children in day care
-first family for the husband to stay at home
-first to start your own business
-first to NOT start your own business and get a paycheck
-first to buy a home
-first to document a process/procedure at work

It's so much easier to sit back and watch. To let someone else blaze the trail.

Sometimes there are people who find it easier to sit back, to let someone else be first. And there's nothing wrong with following the easier path.

What irks me is that sometimes those people feel the need to always let someone else be first, and then critique their efforts. At times, those critiques can be very negative.

I don't have an issue with the nature of criticism, as critiques should be negative at times.

But it does need to be acknowledged that the original trailblazer had the courage to be first. To do something that no one else in their family, circle of friends or group of co-workers could do.

Whether or not it's the "wrong" path. To recognize that stepping off of the ledge in itself took inner strength.


Anonymous said...

In describing the hero's journey, Joseph Campbell talked about how there was a "gatekeeper" at the point in the story where the hero steps out of the familiar zone. The gatekeeper was essentially the naysayer and presented some kind of challenge to the hero. There was a corollary idea that if someone failed to get past the gatekeeper, that person would then become the gatekeeper to someone else. Your post reminded me of this idea. People can find it scary or threatening when that first person does something different.

Aerin said...

North Node - the gatekeeper image is very powerful. I would observe in life we may encounter the gatekeeper - the same gatekeeper often when dealing with specific issues. We continue on our journey - the best way for us to tred - despite the naysayings of the gatekeepers.

With that said - I discussed this observation with my husband last night.

He pointed out that sometimes the gatekeeper can have a good/positive role. Asking the person/hero about their intentions. Are they looking for glory/personal gain? Are they doing what they are doing for themselves? Or because it needs to be done?

I think that the gatekeeper can be a vital position (sometimes) and very positive. It can help keep a person in check - remind them to really think about the consequences and responses of their journey.

Or, more humorously, asking a person if they really want to rent the earth mover to dig a moat around a building. Or a concrete saw to saw the same building in half. I'm not thinking of specific examples here or anything. :)