Or What Edison Knew About Dancing

One of the blessings of growing old, and there aren't a lot of blessings, is that you can apply much of what you learned over the long haul of life to the present. I have learned a great deal although I haven't always applied some of those great insights. Life has its ups and downs along with the good and the bad. Things that have been my fault and those for which I was not responsible have often hurt...many times hurt greatly.

Years ago, I would sit there amidst the misery and agony bemoaning the suffering. While sitting still, my mind would rush around wishing that things didn't happen that way and hoping that tomorrow things would look up. While I see value in sitting still and pondering...and even feeling sorrow for myself, I can't continue to do that. My suggestion is to indulge in self-pity for a week or in extreme situations 10-days. Then move on. Even to the casual observer, it is a nonstarter to sit wishing your life away.

Interestingly, my wife and I just got back from Scotland. It was both a month for study and vacation. While we were there, I marveled over seeing things that I had seen before some 45-years ago. One of the things that I didn't see while attending post-graduate classes at Edinburgh was a saying on a little framed poster in a souvenir shop: "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

That saying caught my eye for two reasons. The first is how apropos that saying was for Scotland, which is noted for its rain. It can rain for days, or it can rain every other hour all day long with intermittent sunny periods. The other reason is how correct the little framed poster was about life - your life and mine. Think about it. "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Let's exegete that statement...divide it up and look at the pieces. The saying assumes that there are problems in life. Sometimes the problems rain all the time and other times the come and go and come and go again...just like the Scottish rain.

The second truism is that problems are a given...face it. Deal with it. But how? If life is always going to be a mix of good and bad times, deal with the reality that you can't control either the weather or life. So what can you control?

You can learn how to dance in the rain. The question is how to learn to dance in the rain especially for people like me who are not good ballroom dancers or even living room dancers.

  1. Pain can move us. Address the pain. Embrace the pain...face it head on. Without the pain, there won't be any gain. Merely wallowing in the pain merely adds to the initial problem.
  2. Divide the rain/pain into small and therefore manageable sections. This method hearkens back to the old adage Rome wasn't built in a day. That phrase first came written in Li Proverbe au Vilain in 1190. That truism has been around for nearly a millennium. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, divide up the task into manageable projects and begin to work incrementally.
  3. Find an Arthur Murray-esque person who does dance in the rain. Now, that isn't as difficult as it sounds. Any successful person is successful not due to luck. Luck helps, but without hard work in the face of hard times, luck won't help much over the long haul. Discover how you can emulate that person's life. What tools did that person use to get ahead of the rain, and when that person couldn't, what did he/she do? Nikola Tesla wrote of Thomas Edison, "If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search." And Edison said of life: "What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration."

    Edison Thomas Edison
  4. Finally, the benefit of rain will benefit you...if you learn to dance in the rain. Dancing in the rain will force you to deal with the problem. Now, you don't have to dance in the rain; you can sit there in the rain and merely get wet. However, getting up and benefiting from the rain will result in your growth along with all the flowers. Here is someone that has understood the truth about dancing in the rain.

If you are into a more classical dancing in the rain and you are much older, try this one...

Or if you aren't as old as I am, try this one...

While you are getting ready to dance, remember two statements that Edison made: "When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this - you haven't." And his final warning: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time."

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison not giving up...