Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stupidity and Butterflies

One thing I miss about being a teenager is being stupid.   When I was younger I never experienced stress.  Now it seems as though the older I get, the more I over-think things, and the more I experience stress.  I feel the tension of trying to do great work, providing for my family, and leading a life of character.   I am not overwhelmed, but for a week I've had a knot in my stomach.  This persistent knot is new to me.  Normally when I get the butterflies it will last for just a few minutes, but this is unusual.  I want it to go away.

Last week I made a quick announcement in front of 400 people regarding the dates, location, and theme of a conference I am helping out on.  I'm really excited about this conference.  But for whatever reason about 20 minutes before I was to go on stage to make the announcement, I freaked out.  This is where I wish I was stupid again.  Because during my freakfest not only did I imagine me fumbling over my words, but that my short little announcement (that I had thoroughly prepared for) wouldn't go over well.   In my mind I imagined the worst case scenario, and then I hit the "repeat" button.  

This is where being stupid would have come in handy.

If I was stupid, I wouldn't have thought about failure, I would have gone ahead spoke in front of a large group and done my thing.

Maybe stupidity is why Mark Zuckerberg succeeded with Facebook, maybe stupidity is the reason why Lindberg succeeded flying across the Atlantic.  Think about Lindberg, do you think it was smart to fly the Spirit of St. Louis over the Atlantic when nobody else had done it before?  That's about as dumb as you can get.  To Zuckerberg, Lindberg and countless other successful endeavors, logic was thrown out the door and only possibilities remained.

You and I with our big brains over-think failure and create sound evidence in our minds to shove our dreams to the side. 

All of us have that self-doubting voice in our head, all of us get butterflies when we're about to attempt to do something out of our comfort zone.   We want that knot in our stomach to go away, we want the butterflies to stop floating.  No matter what I write, I'm not ever going to make those things go away for you or me. 

But here is the tough thing - you have a choice.  You can untie the knot and you can kill the butterflies in your stomach by ending your dream, which will finally give you relief.  Or you can you climb the knot, ride those butterflies, and keep your dream alive.


  1. I've had butterflies in my belly for the last week. I'd describe it more as jellyfish in my belly. I usually don't relate on the power level. At least, since being an adult, I haven't had to. I'm more into truth and understanding. My daughter, 11, describes it as "we are a talk-about it family" rather than a family that yells. A week ago, I engaged on a power-level. A boundary and a protection needed to be made with someone stuck on the power-level (who also has a narcissistic personality disorder. I know her well enough to know there wasn't any other way). She re-wrote her past (which was dishonest to the other people involved) and created a diversion with a lie about me, which is to be expected from her and irrelevant to my purpose. It was successful. I'm really glad I did it. It will prevent a lot of harm. I still have these butterfies though. Perhaps because I know this won't be the end of it(I'm stuck with her for another 4 years), or because relating on a power-level is out of my comfort zone.
    I did a quick search on the spiritual side of butterflies in the stomach, and found your post. It has been helpful. I'm seeing it as learning a skill. I can see this person as someone who is helping me to be strong. I'm getting practice with being out of my comfort zone. I've been terrible at public speaking in the past. Actually, I can only talk about important or complex things to people I trust. With anyone else, I often stumble over words, space-out, and fail miserably at getting my point across. Just a few weeks ago, I was talking about how some lifetime, I'd like to learn how to speak my thoughts clearly without being distracted. I feel like its a major limitation I have that I would like to grow through. This person I'm dealing with is a reliable source of conflict. So for the next 4 years, I have the opportunity to practice being strong, centering myself while under attack, being able to dip into the power-level when necessary and get back out, practice communicating when I am out of my comfort zone, and get practice "riding the butterflies".

  2. Thanks for the comment Roselle. Conflict is never easy. I appreciate you doing homework in trying to better yourself. Most people ignore the problem and do nothing. Doing nothing actually makes the problem worse.

    For example, if I am struggling in a relationship, or in my job, if I do nothing, will things get better in a month? A year? 5 years? I would wager to bet that taking no action amplifies the problem in the long run.

    Bravo to you for taking action!