“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divine.”
That oft-quoted sentiment was either first penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson or Justin Beiber. Or maybe it was a Mayan. Or an Aztec. Incan? I get them all confused.
Regardless, the line has been passed along from generation to generation as a reminder to people that doing the same thing over and over again limits you as to how far you can go in life. Greatness, as the theory goes, comes from stepping out of the norm and trying what others before you have not. Like the first guy to strap himself into a rocket. Or eat an oyster.
Nothing truly awe-inspiring ever takes place until people are willing to put themselves in uncomfortable positions and stick out their necks in order to achieve something monumentally glorious.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m a huge admirer of those who tackle new challenges to shine the light for the rest of us who follow behind them. Without those pioneers, we might still be living in caves, rotting away in ships to get overseas or watching television without Netflix.
We do need those people in order to evolve and achieve great things. History books would be quite thin if we just discussed how John Adams wrote a strongly-worded letter to the British government or Amelia Earhardt... well, that one did not go all that well in the end, but she did inspire others to go where they had never gone before.
That’s something, right?
But I would argue that those adventurous souls are supposed to be the exception, and not the norm. We need the rest of us to consistently wake up in the morning, brush our teeth and go about keeping society humming along until the next great thing comes along. Yes, it’s great to advance an entire civilization, but is it worth it if we allow the rest of society to crumble and fall apart while nobody pays attention to the “now?”
As evidence, I point to last Sunday.
As is the case every Sunday morning, I woke up early, stuffed some food in the baby’s mouth and flipped on the television to watch the early-morning NFL pre-game shows, while she wrestled with some oatmeal and fruit and I sipped my coffee. It’s that quiet time we both enjoy to start our Sundays, and she is happy as a clam, eating her food and bopping her head to the music that comes on between segments.
But there was no pre-game coverage. In fact, there was no game to be played last Sunday at all.
Yes, the Pro Bowl was taking place later that day, but, come on, it’s the Pro Bowl. The stars on the teams that made the Super Bowl wouldn’t be playing, and the stars on other teams that didn’t make the Super Bowl were not about to go risk injury and cash for an exhibition game a million miles away from their families — though, to be fair, it should be noted that the players can now fly to Hawaii, as opposed to taking a ship, because some brave soul...
But I digress.
There would be no football to watch last Sunday. My routine was demolished. My consistency would be interrupted by change. I was not a happy panda.
Calm down, big boy. People survived Sundays without football for thousands of years — you can certainly muddle through one. You do it every offseason. Just suck it up, get through the day and look forward to the Super Bowl next weekend.
My inner monologue was right. All I had to do was step out of my Sunday comfort zone a little, find some interesting things to do and just make it to bedtime around 10 p.m. Easy as pie.
Oh, dear God. Almost 15 hours. That’s 15 hours I would normally spend rotting out my brain from the inside while watching big men collide with one another. My routine was ruined. Scrambling, I gathered the family together, got dressed and went out for some breakfast. We followed that up with a walk on the beach, and I realized I was having a great Sunday without football. We got back in the car, turned it on and...
You have got to be kidding me.
Consistency is where it’s at, I was thinking. You know what you are going to do, and you do it. That’s the secret to life. This whole flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-thing was not working out for me, and I decided to take a different tack. For the rest of the day, I would simply immerse myself in different activities and not even pay attention to the clock or the position of the sun, and I would instead just focus on the “now.” This would be easy.
Oh, dear God.