Living Just Beyond Your Edge

Today's inspiration is an excerpt from "The Way of the Superior Man," by spiritual teacher and author, David Deida:

In any given moment, a man’s growth is optimized if he leans just beyond his edge, his capacity, his fear. He should not be too lazy, happily stagnating in the zone of security and comfort. Nor should he push far beyond his edge, stressing himself unnecessarily, unable to metabolize his experience. He should lean just slightly beyond the edge of fear and discomfort. Constantly. In everything he does.

Many have spoken about the concept of "living on the edge," "leaning in," etc.; this is nothing new. What may be new is the feeling you get when you actually push yourself to "live just beyond your edge."

Undoubtedly, this is pretty scary for most people; I know it's scary for me. What's on the other side of that fear, however, is unfathomable growth and forward expansion into more of who we are.

Even if pushing yourself just beyond your edge doesn't turn out ideally in a given scenario, there is always something to glean from the experience. When keeping that mindset, we become curious explorers of our lives, instead of judges - waiting for the next thing to persecute ourselves for.

Here's an example how I've made this work in my life:

I find a "low-risk" way to practice what it means to live just beyond my edge. This allows me to build the muscle of doing something that makes me feel uncomfortable without feeling like I'm in danger or reaching beyond my abilities.

One of the things that pushes me to live in this zone of growth and expansion is having difficult conversations with people where I'm sharing my feelings, especially if I'm making any judgement on their behavior.

When the situation arises, I ask myself: have I built trust and rapport with this person? Are they likely to love me no matter what I share or how it comes out?

If the answer is yes, then I know this is a relatively "low-risk" scenario, i.e. my job isn't on the line, there is no risk of physical injury, and if emotional injury occurs, it is likely reparable, etc.

Once I've conducted that assessment, I go for it.

I might say something like: "I'd like to share something with you and I'm nervous because..." I then proceed to share what's on my heart.

This allows a space for me to name what I'm feeling while giving the other person a chance to connect with my experience. I have found that this adds to the rapport the person and I have cultivated, while deepening trust. I'm also sure to be as active a listener as I am a sharer.

After that, things may get messy, they may not.

Generally, I feel a sense of relief in having shared something that's been on my mind. I also feel a sense authenticity for having had the courage to share my experience. More times than not, pushing myself to have conversations like this has brought me closer to the other person. This is all I could ask for in my relationships.

This is simply one example of what it might look like to "live beyond your edge." Remember, we get to create how, where, when and with whom we do this. The important part is to JUST DO IT.

In the words of the wise Ms. Frizzle: "take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

You won't regret it.