Seeking Bows

These quotes from a Brene Brown On Being interview:

“We are all taught to be brave, but warned not to be vulnerable.”

“The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.”

Brown repeatedly comes back to the thought that nothing of value is accomplished without risk, without vulnerability.   We often know, or at least feel we know the right thing to do, but have uncertainties about it.  As she puts it, when I decide “I am not going to do it because I cannot guarantee an ending that deserves a bow,” what I am really saying is that the risk of failure, the uncertainty of success, creates more vulnerability than I am willing to accept.

Well, when she puts it that way, and one considers the complexities and surprises in life, the concept does sound a bit silly – that I can accomplish things without risk, without vulnerability.  That implies I can know the result, know the outcome, before I start. As much as I would like to believe that, I know it not to be true in most instances.  And even when the outcome (the spot I get to) is as expected, the path to get there is often full of detours, rife with unexpected lessons learned along the way.

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