After you take a swim test at camp, you get a bracelet – the color indicates your level.
Red = you can’t swim without a life jacket.
Yellow = you need a lot of monitoring.
Green = FREEEEEDOM!!!
Jack, then 9-years-old, got – GASP! – a red bracelet and was HORRIFIED.
When I picked up my sulky kid the afternoon of the Red Bracelet Incident, I heard the unjust story of how he didn’t get to take his test fairly.
I decided to not step in & three days later learned the actual factual truth:
He’d caused his OWN problem by being suuuuuuper pokey about getting his hiney down to the swimming hole on the first day.
He hadn’t even tested! He failed by default!
He had to make a scary choice: re-test for green – potentially failing and risking humiliation – or accept wearing the damned red bracelet for a whole terrible week?
Have you ever had to deal with this conundrum?
In short – have you ever had to choose whether to fail by attempt or fail by default?
It’s a tough choice – not just for 9-year-old boys.
When do we “give up” and when do we “accept”? And what’s the diff?
Giving up means, I am no longer going to work on this on purpose. I decide NOT to continue, even though I could go on.
Acceptance means, I genuinely have no control over the situation.
It’s tricky, so we often lie to ourselves about what we can or cannot control.
- “I’m just going to accept that I will always be fat…out of shape…unhappy…”
- “I’m just going to accept that I cannot leave this job…this relationship…this house….”
- “I’m just going to accept that I will never swim…have fun…make friends…”
When you “accept” these things, you are actually giving up.
Because they’re areas that you can control and change.
I knowwwwww….Shhh. Stop. Listen: I’m not saying it’s easy!
I’m just asking you to see that when you give up, you are choosing – on purpose – not to work on them any longer.
If you choose to give up, well, geez! That’s fine!
It’s 100% your choice. But check in: how does the giving up feel? Satisfied?
Ask yourself, “Is this what I really want?”
Jack had to really sit in that for a few days. Was he going to re-take his test, risk humiliation, & sit in fear?
Or was he going to give up?
He came to me & said – with confidence – he was going to re-test. He came home with a green band and a beaming smile I hadn’t seen in a long time.
How about you? Is there work to do? Is it worth working on? Is there potential?
Is it an area you want to continue to work on….on purpose?
Yes? Then let’s go!
It may be frustrating, hard, slow, annoying, defeating, time-consuming, and painful to your ego.
That’s the price we pay for not giving up.
In the long run, it will feel right – you’ll feel
- accomplished vs. defeated;
- proud vs. humiliated;
- impressed vs. embarrassed.
Give yourself permission to start again. To not give up. To not accept.
Keep going and see what you can accomplish – even if it’s hard. Even if you fail.
If you’ve opted out, given up, or stopped trying, you may feel kind of crappy about your decision. We’ve all been there.
Remember: it’s not too late to change your mind!
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