Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wellness is: Willingness to Look Like an Idiot

That ball is the bane of my existence right now.

One ping pong ball, suspended from string, attached with masking tape. Suspended from an air conditioning vent.

Why do I hate it so? It makes me look like an idiot.

Last year during the Peak Condition Project I learned indoor rock climbing. Everything about it was awkward for me. At first. The stepping into a harness. The shape of the rock-like protrusions on the wall. The release, falling to the ground. The smell of the climbing shoes. The chalk under my finger nails.

But it got easier. And I know as I let my mind be still, the ping pong ball will become a friend, not an enemy. Looking at it hanging there right now, there's nothing daunting about it in the least. It's when it's flying at me, I'm missing and the exhaustion sets in that I get the heebie jeebies.

My climbing instructor reminded me last year, "don't get frustrated up there." The same goes for looking like an idiot. Don't get frustrated, or stuck, there. I think it's one of the things that holds people back from trying a new sport, taking a healthy risk with their wellness practice. Unwilling to look like an idiot, we skip the awkward stage by not engaging in it at all.

If you're reading this post and that's you, let it go. The most skilled rock climber in the world probably looks awkward when he puts on a ballerina outfit and tries to plie for the first time, right?

Look like an idiot. The payout is worth the risk.


  1. Indeed. The most liberating part is feeling like you look like an idiot, realizing you do look like an idiot, and continuing to do it anyway. What's left to lose?

  2. I feel a surge of relief when I'm terrible at something. Because I'm able to give myself a break and just enjoy doing it. It's when you start expecting a certain skill level of yourself that the stress and "unfun" kicks in.

  3. Yes, Gwen. Let's embrace clumsiness, have fun looking like an idiot, play!
    I'm beginning to look at the ball with affection...I'll give it a name.

  4. Lili, I hope you tell us what you name it.

  5. I remember wanting to juggle - just to be able to do it - I looked like a fool dropping the balls until one day I did it. I think what kept me going was the fact that a) it was challenging an interesting b) I was doing it for myself and c) nobody saw how foolish I looked - although I think I'd still do it even if my fumbling was posted to youtube.

    The KFB is virtually the same - I want to do it, it's challenging and interesting, so bring on looking like an idiot!

    Nice post.