Are You Flying Too Low?

You Learn something new every day…This week I was listening to an interview of best selling author Seth Godin.  He was discussing his latest book called The Icarus Deception, which gets it’s name from the Greek Mythology story of Icarus.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the short of the story is this…Icarus and his father (the good guys) were living on the Island of Crete under the rule of Minos (the bad guy).  Icarus’ father (Daedalus) decided that they needed to escape but he knew that Minos controlled the waters around Crete making an escape by boat impossible.  Daedalus decided that the only way to escape was by air.

The Great Escape…

So Daedalus built wings for himself and Icarus so they could fly off the Island and escape to freedom.  He created his wings out of feathers and wax but this made them very fragile.  So as the story goes, he warned his son (Icarus) not to fly too close to the sun because it would melt the wings and he would fall to the ground and die.

The short version is that as Icarus and his father flew safely away from Crete, but Icarus became so excited by the thrill of flying, he flew too close to the sun.  The wax holding the feathers together could no longer hold so the wings fell apart and Icarus fell into the sea and drown.

Like me, many of you have heard this story before but I discovered something the other day that was new to me.  The part of the myth that usually gets left out is that Icarus’ father also warned him about flying too low.  If he were to fly too close to the sea it would dampen his wings, clogging them and making it impossible to fly.

Moral of the story…

Now I said all that to say this…most of us are at a much greater risk of flying too low than flying too high.  The standards at which most of us hold ourselves accountable to is so incredibly low, especially as we age.  Physically, we are fat, arthritic and out of shape.  Mentally, we are foggy, distracted and self-destructive.  And the worst part is, we look to our left and then to our right and because everyone else is flying low, we accept it as fate.  Destiny.  The way that life has to be.  Bad Genes.  Whatever.

But we know this isn’t true.  Innately we know.  It’s just many people don’t want to acknowledge how low they are content to fly.  Think about it.  If you looked at yourself in the mirror, can you say you are doing your best?  You are being the most excellent YOU?  How’s your health?  How’s your fitness level?  How’s your head?  Are you mentally in the right place?

If you are like most of us, there is room for improvement to say the least.

Final Thoughts…

So I want to encourage you to take a long hard look in the mirror and be honest about where you are falling short.  Once you have done that…raise your standard.  Demand more of yourself.  Be the most Excellent YOU.  Or as Seth Godin instructs in his book, “Fly closer to the sun.”