With Or Without Us (On Shared Ideas)

Discouragement may be motivation enough to do great work, but it still hurts.

Sharing is an inherently vulnerable act. It opens us up to criticism, disappointment, and discouragement. When we are passionate about an idea, a project, or a goal and we share our excitement with someone else, what are are telling that person is that we trust them.

We are opening up to them, putting the fate of our hope and our joy in their hands, and asking them to care for our dreams the way that we do, or at least to not diminish them, dismiss them, or destroy them.

If our sharing is met with apathy, disdain, or, even worse, mockery, it hurts and it challenges our sincerity. It forces us to question ourselves, our ideas, and our dedication, and it leaves us with a difficult choice to make.

Many great ideas have been given up on because they were met with negativity, but many have also been brought to life in spite of it, or perhaps even because of it.

We should keep this in mind when someone shares an idea, a project, or a goal with us. We should acknowledge the courage and the trust that it took for them to do so and we should be honored that we were considered worthy recipients.

Even if we do not see the value in what is shared, if we value the person who is doing the sharing, it is worth considering that it is their character and intention that needs acknowledgement, support, and reciprocated trust, not necessarily the specific idea, project, or goal.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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