Don’t Try Too Hard, Get Out Of Your Own Way

You may assume that juggling is just a goofy hobby. You would be wrong. Well, sort of. Juggling is a goofy hobby, but it’s also much more than that. Juggling is a spectacular teacher. It’s taught me patience (to some degree), commitment, and consistency.

Perhaps even more importantly than all of those, however, is that it has taught me the skill of getting out of my own way.

A common myth is that trying too hard doesn’t exist. That’s wrong. Try too hard to flirt with a girl and your odor of desperation will quickly chase her away. Try to hit a baseball too hard and you’ll almost certainly miss.

Perhaps the best example is trying to fall asleep. If you stress over the need to immediately fall asleep it’s almost certain you won’t. Sleeping isn’t like squatting 500 pounds.

It’s not something you can do by exerting your will. Rather, sleep is something that occurs only when you let go. It’s a process that occurs primarily on a subconscious level, and thus the best use of your conscious awareness is to get out of your own way.

The same occurs in juggling. When I’m juggling 5 balls is it my conscious awareness that’s keeping the balls in the air? Of course not. Right, left, right, left slightly higher to give time for the right to make a correction throw, right, adjust the angle of your left elbow to compensate for a fatigued forearm… I couldn’t possibly think quickly enough.

My subconsciousness is the means by which the process is facilitated. Therefore, my best bet is to keep my conscious mind quiet, and get out of the way of my subconscious mind.

Unfortunately, despite this our culture tends to glorify masculine energy while making no mention of the feminine. We recognize the exertion of our will on the world, but too often forget the ability to let go.

However, the truth is that there’s immense value in both. Something we all need to work on is taking proactive action to bring that which we want into the world, while at the same time understanding the power of letting go and getting out of our own way.

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