Meet The Opponent

860. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

On the white board Skip wrote, “The enemies.” We were planning our business and as we moved deeper into specific details, the forces of opposition became apparent. Skip listed them as “enemies” rather than “obstacles” because forces that rise against clear intention are not passive. A boulder in the road is an obstacle. A tide of opposition is an opponent and the strategy for meeting an opponent is different than that of meeting an obstacle. Both strategies begin with respect and then the paths diverge.

Innovation will always bring a tide of opposition. Several times in my life I have seen “the system” crush the very innovation that it purports to seek. It smashes the innovators that work to improve the lives of all involved. Their innovation would necessitate change and the fear that change inspires in a system is lethal to change makers and the advances that they bring. Tom used to say, “You will know the worth of your work by the size of the tide that rises against you.”

On the list of enemies Skip wrote “The Four Overcomings.” This is a reference to one of Carlos Casteneda’s books. The Four Overcomings are 1) The Fear of Learning, 2) The Fear of Clarity, 3) The Fear of Power, and 4) The Fear of Old Age. In the book, Don Juan tells us that very few people move beyond the first fear. A true learner must open to change. A true learner must embrace the unknown and become practiced at stepping into it. One in ten will face this fear and overcome their need to know. The majority will seek safety and grasp firmly to what they know.

Learning brings clarity. Of the people that move beyond the first overcoming, only a very small percentage will face their fear of clarity. As Skip explained, those who become clear are dangerous to the status quo and are ostracized or worse. It takes courage to speak truth in a society dedicated to maintaining the safety at all cost. Most will hide their clarity. They will pretend ignorance. A very few will embrace their clarity and give voice to what they’ve learned.

If one is able to face the fear of learning, move beyond the fear of clarity, they become potent. They become powerful. And the powerful must embrace their power. They must not deny their power and in fact must willingly use their power. Fear of being power defeats almost all people. As Marianne Williamson famously wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” All people are powerful beyond measure but would rather measure than be powerful.

The fourth and final overcoming is old age. Skip smiled and said, “By the time you get beyond Overcomings 1 – 3 you will be old. And no one overcomes number four.

Learning, clarity, power, and old age are forces. They are not obstacles. They are not passive. They are opponents and to overcome them one must begin with respect – not for the opponent but for one’s self. And then you must ride out to meet them on the field of your life.

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