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You Can Do It – Seriously

I’ve had an old truth come into light recently. It came from some mountain climbers, a magician, and, from all people, me – a little.

The truth is this: “you can do it.” Seem obvious? It is. But, too often, we think ourselves right out of something before even trying. It’s as if we let our power be sucked right out of us. Check out How You Can Be Happy for more on this.

I was reminded that we can indeed “do it.”

In Touching The Void, two mountain climbers found themselves in a tough spot. The only solution, cut the rope, sending one to fall 150ft to his death into a massive ice crevasse. To everyone’s surprise, he lived. Despite a badly shattered leg, frost bite, little food or water, he made it off the mountain. How?

The book and the documentary go into great detail, but one thing stuck out, the climber set goals for himself to get down the massive ice-covered mountain. He created goals and milestones (a rock, a piece of ice, whatever), and then inched his way toward them, celebrating each and every victory. Despite being delusional from exhaustion, and lack of nutrition, he “did it.”

Magician David Blaine talks about his journey to do the impossible – hold his breath for 17 minutes – and not fry his brain. Despite numerous failures, he never gave up, and he did “do it.” How? The short story, he trained, studied, practiced, and persisted. It didn’t happen over night.  But step-by-step, he did the impossible.

I’m no mountain climber or magician, but the same principles apply. Back in the day, I was a professional musician – writing, singing, and playing guitar. I got pretty good – recorded some albums, played in some cool clubs, won a NYC battle of the bands…etc. Life continued. I got married. Had four kids. 15 years went by without seriously playing again.

To me it’s an overwhelming task to get back to where I was. What to do? Set goals and milestones. For the last three months I’ve been conditioning my hands to be able to play my beautiful Gibson J-200. It’s not an easy guitar to play well. It’s big, and I use heavy strings to get a big sound.

I’ve also been slowly conditioning my voice as well, discovering with ease, notes I could not hit in the past. Did I lose some years – yes. Will I let that stop me – no. In fact, the break has made me reflect and think how hard I was pushing, and that if I had only just relaxed, like now, things come easier – and sound better.

Will I play professionally again? No idea. The point is that, step-by-step, I can “do it.”

This is not an exposition of human ingenuity. Rather it’s to point out the incredible God-given power that we have, but usually waste.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson


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