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Smash Those Paradigms

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
-Theodore Roosevelt

The above quote is from a speech Theodore Roosevelt gave at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910, but I was introduced to it by reading a new book by Dr. Brene Brown titled Daring Greatly. Dr. Brown is a researcher who has spent years studying shame and how people effectively (or ineffectively) manage it. Her work is fascinating and inspiring. It’s changed her life and literally countless others. Check out her TED talks when you get a moment. Good stuff.

Yesterday at my monthly The Deep Study meditation class, we talked about our personal paradigms. A paradigm is a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about. So, personal paradigms are our assumptions about life, and often, they are the very things that hold us back from being ourselves.

I didn’t quite know what to say about my personal paradigms. I felt like I had a thousand to share. But, when it came time to discuss, I stated something that I wasn’t quite expecting. I realized that my most instilled paradigm is that it’s better to “go with the flow” and “not rock the boat” than to voice my thoughts/needs/desires. And, boy, this puts up the most ginormous, reinforced, 25-foot-thick steel wall in terms of Daring Greatly.


How great are those four words? Talk about a paradigm shift. How awesome is it to realize it and see it in writing, in all cap letters…love it.

I’m ready to dare greatly. I’m ready to feel more in my life – more connection, more intimacy, more tingling in my toes when I’m about to do something out of my comfort zone. And, I feel more prepared to take on inevitable failures, criticisms, and “errs.”

Think about joining me…what do we have to lose except staying in the same place.

Posted by Missy Baker, a long-time student of Elesa Commerse.
To contact Missy, email 

Posted Sept. 24, 2012



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