The Icarus Deception – You Can Do More

icarusMy son, Carter, (one of the brightest people I know) called me after reading my initial blog post on “You can do more – your brain is lying to you… don’t believe it!”  He reminded me of the wider scope of the message by asking (and I am paraphrasing) “Doesn’t it (the blog and phrase) really apply to more than just strength training and conditioning?  I mean, really, it can be used for business success as well, don’t you think?”  He actually asked if I had ever thought about writing a business book.

Well here is how all this ties together.  One of my favorite non-fiction writers is Seth Godin, author and blogger, who deals with primarily business and marketing concepts.  I have found that the converse of what my son said to be true as well.  Many of the ideas and concepts Seth Godin shares regarding business and marketing apply equally well to athletics, and strength and conditioning.  I am currently reading his new book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

Here is an excerpt from his book: The Icarus Deception – How High Will You Fly?

            Just south of the Greek island of Samos lies the Icarian Sea.  Legend has it that this is where Icarus died – a victim of hubris.

His father, Daedalus, was a master craftsman.  Banished to prison for sabotaging the work of King Minos (captor of the Minataur), Daedalus created a brilliant escape plot, described in the myth that we were told as children.

He fashioned a set of wings for himself and his son.   After affixing the wings with was, they set out to escape.  Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun.  Entranced by his magical ability to fly, Icarus disobeyed and flew too high.  We all know what happened next:  The wax melted, and Icarus, the beloved son, lost his wings, tumbled into the sea, and died.

The lesson of this myth:  Don’t disobey the king.  Don’t disobey your dad.  Don’t imagine that you are better than you are, and most of all, don’t ever believe that you have the ability to do what a god might do.

The part of the myth that you weren’t told:  In addition to telling Icarus not to fly too high, Daedalus instructed his son not to fly too low, too close to the sea, because the water would ruin the lift in his wings.

Society has altered the myth, encouraging us to forget the part about the sea, and created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.  Industrialists have made hubris a cardinal sin but conveniently ignored a far more common failing: settling for too little.

It is far more dangerous to fly too low that too high, because it feels safe to fly low.  We settle for low expectations and small dreams and guarantee ourselves less than what we are capable of.  By flying too low, we shortchange no only ourselves but also those who depend on us or might benefit from our work.  We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it.

The path that’s available to each of us is neither reckless stupidity, nor mindless compliance.  No, the path that’s available to us is to be human, to do art, and to fly far higher than we’ve been taught is possible.  We’ve built a world where it’s possible to fly higher than ever, and the tragedy is that we’ve been seduced into believing that we ought to fly lower instead.

Godin is basically saying, only much more eloquently than I have: You (we) can do more!

  • In athletics
  • In training
  • In friendships
  • In school
  • In education
  • In business
  • In customer service
  • In society
  • In our families
  • In art
  • In love
  • In _________
  • In _________

Don’t be afraid – your brain (your lizard brain… your conditioned brain) is lying to you – Don’t believe it!

  • Take Chances
  • Stand Up
  • Cause a Ruckus
  • Be Remarkable
  • Fly High!
  • Be The Best!

Seth Godin writes a daily blog, and has authored several best selling books.  You will hear more about his book, Purple Cow, later this week when I begin writing about college recruiting!

Jeff Floyd –

2 thoughts on “The Icarus Deception – You Can Do More

  1. Pingback: Overcoming Fear | You Can Do More!

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