“Playing with reckless abandon” is an expression generally reserved for athletics. A clear-cut statement depicting a singular approach to playing the game – whatever the field, court, pond or pool of endeavor.
Though it is meant to be illustrative of effort freed from the constraints of doubt, worry or outcome, it provides keen insight into the very essence of competition.
Not so much the battles enjoined between opponents on a field of play, making that game – “a game”.
But rather, the contest that is continually played from within.
The battle consistently and reliably challenge yourself to go beyond your own boundaries of comfort, belief and ability.
In an athletic sense, this is the inner drive that can ultimately transform the person into a player.
A player into a standout.
A standout into all-conference.
All-state, America and Pro.
Not simply the quest to make the play.
But to become the one that can make the plays.
The same applies to other aspects of life.
Because no matter your vocation, if you aspire to be “the one”, you will need to learn to embrace, lean into and live with discomfort.
And this can be a very tall order.
For in the relative safety of your athletic, scholarly, artistic or professional pursuits, it can become second nature to live a life reined in.
Staying within your sweet spot.
Doing what you can do well.
Then, settling into a comfortable complacency. Rarely if ever pushing beyond your boundaries.
Conceding that an acceptance of perceived “limitations” is more palatable than finding out what you really have within you.
Whether of not you have the build to make not just a play, but the play.
For in many respects, this isn’t only about the fear of the unknown.
True, the possibility of failure is an everyday reality. And preventing its appearance on your daily landscape is forever a part of the internal calculus you perform when thought is about to become deed.
However, if not careful, these calculations can develop a mind of their own and become both a self-fulfilling and defeating attitude.
Growing into a mindset devised to blame, explain and excuse a less than stellar performance and outcome with, “I thought that would happen”, or “I knew it wouldn’t work”.
But then again, maybe it isn’t just the prospect of failure that creates this inertia.
It could just be that you are really more fearful of success.
For with a higher level of performance and accomplishment comes with it a benchmark.
A higher level of continual expectations and much, much greater visibility.
No longer will it simply suffice for you to make the play.
It will be incumbent on you to make the plays: plural.
Perhaps it is the fact that when you do make the play – the unknown you truly fear is “Can I handle being in the spotlight once my performance, achievement and success make me stand out.”
And then; “Will I ever be able to make it happen again?”
It is far easier, safer and more comfortable to fly under the radar, to exist in the periphery and live in the shadows of others brilliance.
But what’s the worst that could happen if you decided to generate some of your own brilliance?
To shine brightly.
And have the light of your efforts lead others to do the same.
If you think about it, there is nothing reckless what so ever about this kind of pursuit.
Abandon your fears.
And go to where the magic happens.