Monday, April 25, 2011

How to kick butt (or die in the attempt)

And it would not be a bad life. He knew that too. Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
- Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

At the risk of exposing just how truly geeky I was in my youth, there's a rule in competitive chess called "touch-move". It's much more eloquent in Mandarin: 举手不回 (roughly translated as "once you've raised your hand, there's no turning back").

In gameplay, it means once you've touched a piece, you've committed to moving it (unless you invoke another technical rule, but that would detract from my analogy). In short, there's no 'undo' button. What's done is done.

And I guess that's how I've more or less been living life. There've been times in my life when I've been scared - the time when I started down the path which eventually led my moving back to London springs to mind, the time I finally decided that, yes, MD and I would get together as a couple in spite of my initial misgivings (which turned out to be correct, but, hey, c'est la vie, no?), and, now, the position I'm facing with my career move - but, I've always taken that first step knowing full well that in taking that step, I've committed to it, and that there's no turning back.

I don't want to live my life wondering what lay down the paths I didn't take. And I don't believe in doing things by half-measures. Why dip my toe in the water when I can dive off a cliff? Sure, it might hurt a lot more that way, but, sometimes, you just have to take a leap because you'll need the momentum to succeed.

And, to be honest, I don't care about the consequences. Well, I tell a lie. I do, but not as much, at least for now. I don't care what other people think.

And this leads to the other thing I keep saying. I've got to try. You can't win if you don't play. Sure, sometimes it's easier to stand on the sidelines and imagine what might have been. But if you don't play, you've already lost.

举手不回. You can't win if you don't play.

Two pretty powerful tenets to live life by, and two I need to bear in mind if I really want to kick butt.

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