“The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Once again, a quote has grabbed me and will not let me go due to the truth that is so simply stated. This is where I find myself today, with a quote from Nietzsche who hit the nail on the head with this simple idea, “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
Oh, don’t you know it! Those who continually jab at you for all your hopes and dreams and aspirations and can’t see their way out of a paper bag, they want to drag you down. You–amazing you with all your hopes, ideas, dreams, business ventures, inventions and prospects of new and different things–they want to drag you down to where they are. Because you and your big ideas are unimportant to them, because they are stuck and have no vision and because they are immovable in a world of boredom, sameness and lacking new ideas, they want you to sit right beside them, because misery loves company.
Not only does misery love company, it also detests anything and anyone who yearns to break free from the world of empty ideas. Don’t do it! Don’t wallow with them in their small world of sameness. Choose to pursue your ideas and hopes and dreams. Don’t be stopped by others who haven’t had a new idea in their head in years. Believe in what Zig Ziglar said, “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.” And I’ll add to his thought, don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big, because, “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
Listen, I get it. It’s a shame that others can’t fly. In a perfect world we’d all fly together, but you and I know that’s not going to happen…ever. So, since you’re on track to do great things, don’t let others’ opinions, musings, snarky remarks bother you, offend you or hold you back. That is a choice you make to either stay and wither or walk away and do what you were born to do.
I know it’s hard when the people who should be your cheerleaders choose to sit on the bench rather than pitch in and help because they didn’t think of the idea or, frankly, any new ideas. Those are the days when you’ll just have to cheer for yourself. Trust me, most of us have done that plenty of times in our successful lives.
Not everyone is blessed with the determination or invention or innovation genes. Many good people just don’t have it. We can speculate on why until the end of time, but since I don’t have that much time today (and you don’t either), let me simply state that you have every right to hope and dream and be the person that you are meant to be–every God-given right–so you should use it up until your days are over.
And if you choose not to live to your full potential because of how it will make others feel, well, then let me state it clearly, you’re a chicken; worse than that, you’re a pigeon, and there’s nothing worse than a pigeon. Yes, I am trying to offend you into the clear light of day so you can see your way into soaring above the clouds. Remember, “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
I fly a lot, and I am intrigued as much by the fluffy clouds as I am by the tiny little cars and houses that twinkle in the night as I fly into my hometown. Once I am back home sitting on my porch, I can see an occasional jet fly over and I reverse the thought from being up there looking down to looking up to the sky to see the tiny speck of what I know is a huge jumbo jet flying overhead. At that time I realize that it’s true, the higher the plane in the sky, the less I can really see of its massive size.
Let me focus on a few hard truths that I believe you need to think through, so you will not be thrown off track by the dismissive actions of others.
Remember, the jealousy of others is not your problem. I know that many jealous people like to cast a wide net and drag others into their dysfunction, so it is not obvious to others that they are damaged. Friend, if that happens, you need to do whatever it takes to cut yourself free. I did a post on jealousy about a year ago, and the hard truth is that jealous people have allowed an invisible switch to flip inside their head and once flipped–unless they get help–they are not good for you to be around. There is something deep and dark about jealousy that healthy people don’t understand, so be wise and find a way out or away from a jealous person. They will only act like they are happy for you in front of others, but deep down in their misery, they loathe your success. Hard words, I know, but I am speaking truth, friend, so that you can be aware.
I know it is hard to make changes with friends and family, but if you don’t move away from them as soon as you sense their true feelings, you are harming yourself because of someone who doesn’t have your best in mind. Yes, I am the bearer of bad tidings on this issue, but you need a friend to shake you into seeing the truth for what it is and not what you’ve been excusing.
My second point is this–you’ve got to trust that when you do soar, you will find others who are flying at your same altitude. That is your flock of a new network.
I believe in synchronicity. It happens when you allow yourself to be open and truthful with yourself and others (open within reason). Think back on all the people who you’ve had unexpected connections with who know the same people you do and who went to the same school you did or lived in the same area where you grew up. Many times it just happens to work out that you get to connect with those who are going in the same direction as you. Now, that only happens when you actually go to the events you’ve been invited to (instead of staying home) or making the call that a friend asked you make to someone who they thought would be a good connection or following up on a lead that might spark a new opportunity.
I know that the thought of going back out after a long day at work to meet people you barely know seems daunting, but to be successful these days, you might have to commit to consistent long-term networking. Remember, rushing out right after you’ve lost your job makes you look desperate, and that scares off most opportunities. Take it slowly, but do take advantage of the kindness of others. I bet you have more connections than you’ve thought about, so may I suggest that this holiday season you say yes to invites to parties that you’d normally brush off. Who knows, you might find a new opportunity waiting to happen when you choose to soar instead of staying on the ground grousing about looking for discarded peanuts.
Remember, “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.” And that brings me to my final point, which is that sometimes you need to grow comfortable flying alone.
I mentioned in last week’s blog post/newsletter/podcast that early on in my career one of the hardest things for me to do was to accept the fact that if I was going to be successful, I was going to go it alone. Not that I wanted to rebuild by myself, but that is the hand I was dealt, so I needed to make it work. I remember reading a quote that has stuck with me through the years, “People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that is true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” And I’ll add that I would rather be alone and happy than to be with others who make me unhappy on my journey.
Most people don’t think they would like being alone, but once you get over the initial change from chaos to quiet, you find you crave the free time that being alone affords you. Let me assure you that, over time you will become more at ease with the quiet; in fact, you might be surprised how much you enjoy your own company because usually, it is then that you make the self-discovery that you don’t need to look outside yourself for your self-worth.
You will be okay flying alone for a few weeks, months or years. Just trust that it will all work out in the end, as it is supposed to.
And always remember that it is okay for you to soar to heights so high that you are a speck to those still sitting on the ground, because “The higher you soar, the smaller you appear to those who cannot fly.” And, frankly speaking, that is just fine.