The Reasons for this ridiculous adventure are varied.
I think I learnt something really important first hand when I ran the UK.
I had never taken on anything quite as demanding mentally as the whole LeJog thing and like I’ve commented on before, I inadvertently jumped head first (I believe this is called a dive) into those dark spaces in our heads. The same dark spaces that don’t really exist and are just our way of dealing with a fear of failure. And there it is…
The reasons I am doing this, or at least one of the reasons I am doing this.
I have just sat and completed my tutor reports. Words about the progress of 30 young people, who I have looked over for 5 days a week for the last 4 years. Seeing them develop for children in to semblances of adults. Not quite adults, but at the same time not quite children anymore as they make the final move as secondary school students
As I typed, as I used the words that are expected of me, I thought about what would actually be a better way to say my final goodbye. What would I say to try and make them understand what the true importance of their time in school was? I think given the opportunity, on my final day in school, I would share these words with them…
“I stand here about to take a step into a world I am not familiar with and a life that fills me with a sense of fear. I know that the chances of failing in the task I’ve set for myself is high, moving away form the familiar and comfortable routine of a life I’ve known for over 7 years to a way of living that has absolutely no certainties. Don’t misread this and think he’s just quit and off he goes. This moment comes after month of moving away from comfortable choices. Purposefully making my life more difficult and removing those things that we take for granted and all to share one important lesson. Your time here, in this school has one true purpose. The subjects you learn, the exams you will take are all pointless if you miss this truth. You are here to learn to cope with failure, to make mistakes and to learn from them and their discomfort.”
This is the part that people will misunderstand. I’m not referring to the discomfort of not having a comfortable bed or being cold. I’m referring to the mental discomfort of facing and realising failure. The bitter taste it leaves as you realise that you weren’t quite as good as you thought you were. But that’s the point. You are all in an environment where you can make mistakes and there are those ,that regardless of outward appearances, will stand and help you make sense of those failures if you chose to face them. It is in this discomfort that you realise who you truly are and learn the most important lessons you need to learn. The lessons that will prepare you for the future that is ahead of you. So, I will share my experience as I struggle to find enough food, make mistake after mistake, learn as I go along, see things that I never dreamt of seeing and find out that as humans we are capable of incredible things. But I’ll stand there as just an ordinary person who did one simple thing… chose to acknowledge failure, look it in the eye and shake its hand so that others will hopefully learn that it’s an irrational fear that is hampering our true capacity to learn and be alive.”
Maybe some of you will read this. Maybe most won’t, but if this has an impact on just one student it will have done its job.