This weekend we watched a movie called Desert Runners. Have you seen it? It’s a documentary on Netflix about four ultra-runners from all over the world taking on the challenge of running the 4 Desert Grand Slam. This means they are running 250K marathons in four different deserts around the world all in one year. Yeah, that’s right 250k (155.43 miles) marathons. Each marathon is run over a 5 day period and are held in the largest deserts in the world; Antarctica, the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert, and Atacama Desert. In the movie you follow each of the runners’ stories of grief, victory, failure, compromise, and growth. It is really beautiful and inspiring to just scratch the surface of this documentary.
I don’t watch many movies (more of a TV show girl), but this one nabbed my interest. It was most likely because I am craving getting back into running as the pollen dissipates in the coming weeks. Though I thought the film would just inspire me to get moving, it did much more than that. Days later I was thinking about what it takes to do something that extraordinary and how it wasn’t about necessarily doing it the best, but more about doing it. Each runner had different reasons and some of those reasons changed along the way, but it was always about discovering a limit within themselves to either grow stronger, let something go, reach a physical peak, or discover who they are. It had me thinking in 100 directions, but what stuck with me most was in the beginning they quoted Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech. Particularly they quoted this portion:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Now, I have heard this before, as I am sure you have as well, but most of the time it has been in light of dealing with the critic, which is most of what that quote is about, but what hit me this time in hearing this in the movie was the line “…if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” What does it mean to dare greatly? Have I really pushed myself to limits within my life, work, relationships, creativity, and soul that I could really whole heartedly say with complete confidence I have dared greatly? Have I let go of all that keeps me tied to the safest places in my life in order to discover new parts of my work, myself, my abilities, and my relationships? Am I sure I have let go of my fears in order to be capable of daring greatly?
I don’t think I have if I am really honest. Most likely this is why I sat enamored with the people in the movie. They were going through the journey of pursuing and fighting for what they believed would help them find that next level of themselves. That was not only something I respected in them but desired to do myself.
We all have our own mountains to climb. It isn’t about the recognition or the pat on the back, necessarily. Sometimes it is about finding our limit and knowing we reached the depths of who we are and our skills. It is about discovering that we are greater than we believe ourselves to be. All of which is a continual journey and at times the weight of daring becomes heavier in our life than others.
So, to kick off this first full week of April, let’s make a plan on how we can take steps toward feeling we can one day say, “I dared.” I am ready to find the next mountain top in my journey and maybe you feel the same. So let’s go do this and make the most of this week. We got this!
Just remember, those who dare are the ones who change how we see the world.