What one man can do another man can also do.
If its it’s been done before it can be done again. That thought was going through my mind this morning as l biked down to the jetty in Busselton my new home town. The jetty is a fantastic wooden structure, stretching 1841 metres out into the bay here in Western Australia. The longest wooden piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Part of my daily routine now, will be a walk to the end and back. Almost at the end is a lower platform, that takes you underneath the main jetty, this is used mainly by fishermen.
It was very quiet on this platform and for some unknown reason, l felt uncomfortable looking at the barnicles on the piles and the depth of the dark water lapping against them. A man, I estimated to be about my age, was climbing down into the water, ready to swim back to the shore. That was when the thought of ‘what one man can do another man can also do’ was reinforced. There was no doubt in my mind, that another man could do what this man was doing. I also knew that it wasn’t going to be me, anytime soon. A thought also occured to me, that people who are capable of great feats don’t usually stand out.
What one man can do.
This man didn’t stand out either, but on the other hand, how many men of his age would swim back into the shore from this far out, a handful at best, I would imagine. Especially on a daily basis, as this man informed me was his routine. I have had this experience before. When you meet someone who has a reputation for feats of strength, endurance, or overcoming extremely difficult personal issues. You expect them to be different in some way, or at least, I do, but of course their not. What they have worked on, is their mental fortitude and as such, it can’t be seen.
Our lower nature, seems to be the default position we fall into without effort. These people are not super human, but they have managed to tap into their higher nature. Which with sustained effort, is available to each of us, it just doesn’t feel easy, so we don’t bother to try. There are more similarities between us and the people we see as different, than there are differences. For many of us, this lie sticks in our mind, that we can never be like the people we admire. They were born with blessed blood, or they are special in some way and this is why they have achieved what they have achieved.
Another man can do it.
Watching the man enter the water to start his swim. I realised there has to be enjoyment, or a sense of achievement in this particular activity for him personally, especially on a daily basis. His level of commitment to reach this stage, wouldn’t come easily to the majority of people. It wasn’t as if he had decided to take the stairs sometimes, instead of the elevator. ‘One man can do what another man can also do’ but he has to want to do it bad enough. With the endless choices we have nowadays, it’s getting harder to focus on one activity at a time. Also we have to give away the opportunity of all the other pursuits we could follow. Anyone of them being something we could potentially be suited to.
The man other men want to be.
But do we want to remain ‘ dabblers’ who do lots of things, but none of them particularly well? Although there is nothing wrong with this either, as long as as we don’t get frustrated. We may perceive ourselves to be “not good enough” when we compare ourselves to people who have dedicated themselves to one particular thing. If we are lucky enough to not have a physical or mental impairment, I don’t believe there is anything we can’t get good at, with enough effort.
I have just noticed my garden fork that I left outside. If I decided to study that fork, how it was made, how many types there are. The implications it’s had on the development of agriculture over the years. If I did go down the niche path of studying all these things for hundreds possibly thousands of hours l would eventually be the “go to man” to talk about garden forks. After a number of years, possibly a world authority. I might even be the “one man who other men want to be” in the world of garden forks.