“Just a dog? Porthos dreams of being a bear, and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he’s just a dog? What a horrible candle-snuffing word.” J.M. Barrie
Revisiting a great Jonny Depp movie, the biographical tale of the writing of Peter Pan, Finding Neverland, I was graced by a powerful statement by J. M. Barrie, Jonny Depp’s character. In response to the young boy Peter in stating “It’s just a dog” J.M. Barrie replies “Just a dog? Porthos dreams of being a bear, and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he’s just a dog? What a horibble candle-snuffing word. That’s like saying, ‘He can’t climb that mountain, he’s just a man’, or ‘That’s not a diamond, it’s just a rock.’ Just.”
How often do we snuff out someone’s candle by saying “just”? How many times have we kept our children from accomplishing something great because they are just children? How many times have we stopped ourselves from competing in a certain race or event because we are just amateurs or beginners? How often have we discouraged someone from a new career choice or starting a business because they are just an average employee or even worse, just our brother or sister. Since, there is no way that someone so close to us could be so successful.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Like a candle we as humans are extremely fragile! We need validation like a candle needs oxygen. Without this validation we will be forever stunted and will no longer provide light to the world. It is up to us to hold this light unto all that they too may see, but if it is too often snuffed out by others seeing us as less than we are then we fail to reach our true potential.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh
Within ourselves we can find the power to do anything that we push ourselves to do. No matter what our mind or external voices tell us. We have a duty to make this world a better place and we can only do that if we are going to push ourselves beyond the limits that we once thought possible. If I heeded the thoughts of those around me that we were crazy to start Altra then we would never have even gotten a prototype, let alone help the thousands that we have helped to break their limits through running.
Not only do we need to go out and prove to ourselves that we can accomplish great things, be it climb a mountain, write a book, start a business, run a marathon or any slew of accomplishments, but we must share that confidence with the next generation. It is on our shoulders to provide and instill the confidence in others that they can accomplish anything. Barrie Davenport, life coach and author of Peace of Mindfulness, stated that “Self-Confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” Just as a candle can be relit we can relight the energy and confidence of ourselves and others.
Let us master this self-confidence and then teach others how to obtain it. We ought to no longer snuff out the candles of ourselves or others.