Fight Club. Interesting movie. I remember watching it in the 90’s and honestly found it a little hard to follow. As a young college student/Marine when the movie came out, I already felt pretty free and unconstrained by the tediousness of life that Edward Norton seemed to be going crazy over. Fast forward to my middle class life, and I get it a little more. I’m not starting fight club or anything, I’m just saying I get it more than I did at the time. Sometimes you have to invite a little rawness to feel alive in this humdrum world. Sometimes, there is some value in knowing when to pick a fight. So this is the first in a 3 part series blog about picking a fight. Today, its picking a fight with fear and failure.
It one of the better scenes of the movie, Brad Pitt directs the fight club to pick a fight with a total stranger, and lose. Fascinating. Now when I say the value of picking a fight, I am not talking about physical violence. That’s typically illegal. But what I do mean, is there some value in inviting some raw experiences to your life that expose you to criticism, failure, and fear. Not fear as in thrill seeking jumping out of plane, that is just fun. However, just the fear that your controlled world and the manner in which you would like it to turn out is about to be put into question.
Sports are a good example for me. Long before I started Unprecedented Mediocrity, I have always said that God has blessed me with exceptional mediocrity at sports. I excel at none, but can play most to an average level. This mediocre ability produces a very real scenario where I will not be the hero of the game, but rather, I will be the goat. And that’s why I love playing. In my controlled world, when I am playing outfield in softball and the ball is hit to me, I catch the ball and everyone carries me off the field. However, the real world, there is a 50% I drop the ball. That’s right, I drop the ball, and the other 9 people on my team are staring right at me as I simultaneously let everyone of them down. Thrilling, I love it.
Now I am a grown man and this is not PE class. I have no obligation to be out playing softball. I can avoid this failure and keep my daily life intact. But where is the joy on that. I pick a fight with sports. And sometimes I lose. Losing typically does suck, but the potential of losing is thrilling. Take blogging for example. All around me are tech wizards who know what they are doing. Some have offered me great advice for which I am grateful. However, by choosing to blog, I have stepped onto the playing field of persons far more technically equipped than me for this task. Moreover, I type something that I think or feel and the raw exposed nature of my thoughts being subjected to the internet leaves me vulnerable. To be honest, I am enjoying it. So I pick a fight with blogging and the internet world. After all, the internet has always been known for its civility, so how hard can the criticism be. I’ll take my chances.
Living in a world with scripted outcomes just doesn’t appeal to me. Sorry. I joined the Marine Corps as a 17yo baby faced kid stepping into a man’s world. Prior to joining, no one would have thought that I was Marine potential, but I picked a fight with the Marine Corps and loved every bit of it to this day. So I guess my recommendation to you all would be this. If your life seems pretty scripted and you feel safe from all failure, then its time to pick a fight. Again, not a real physical fight because I feel like I might somehow be legally responsible for that. But expose yourself to failure and let that do to you what it does. Embrace it, and feel alive. It can be the job you want to apply for, but don’t think you will get. The sport your afraid to try, or maybe just the girl you want to ask out, but she might say no. Pick a fight with the fear of rejection. But don’t punch anyone. Because that is wrong. Feel free to comment on the risk you take and how you feel about that. Take a step further and talk about the fight you plan to pick.