They just got on with their lives

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High Ropes’ time again! I’m back on the topic not just because it is a passion of mine but it is also a great metaphor for how people approach life’s challenges.

Some years ago, I was working with a group of young-people-with-cancer on the High Ropes course some time ago. And it was inspiring. The two of us who were facilitating the group treated them exactly as we would any group. Without sympathy and without making allowances for their situation.  We treated them as people – not as patients. It was not a conscious decision – that’s just how it worked out.

And they were great! They really went for it!

However challenging the situation they just got on with it. Standing on top of the wobbly trapeze pole (the height of two double-decker buses, one on top of another) and then leaping out to catch a trapeze bar (a metre or two in front and at eye level). Walking the high (same height) beam between two trees. Moving across the high wire.

Whatever the challenge they took it on and dealt with it, with gusto.

No hesitation

Why this no-hesitation? I don’t know, of course, but my guess is that they don’t make a common assumption – that they have unlimited time to ‘get around to it’. When they visited the site to take part in the High Ropes session their attitude was ‘do it now’ because there’s no guarantee there’ll be a ‘next time’!

In one of our workshops I ask people ‘what would you do if you knew you had just six months to live?’

It really focuses the mind. Now things take on a new immediacy. Like making it up with that person you had an argument with years ago. Or taking up that hobby or activity. Or asking that person for a date. Or telling a loved one how you really love them.


Many of us have this terrible complacency. We act as if we are eternal – when we are not. Because of this so many opportunities remain dreams. Until it is too late. We are so busy working to pay for the new windows, or the alteration to the bathroom, or a flasher car that we put things like having fun, or appreciating a loved one, or looking after our health ‘on the long finger’.

In our teens it’s “I’ll get around to that when I have a mate”. In our twenties it becomes “I’ll get around to it when I have a better job – or when I am married”. Then it becomes “I’ll get around to it when the kids have started school – when the kids have finished college – when we move house – when the kids have married – when I retire – oops, too late…….!”

What’s on your “Oh, yeah, I’ll do that – one day” list?

There was a series on BBC TV recently called Hope & Glory. On the wall behind the main character’s desk was a sign:

If not you, who? If not now, when?  

It’s based on a quotation by Hillel the Elder – and is worth thinking about…

Many of us wait till the gun is to our head before we act. When middle age comes along we become frantic trying to fight off ageing. When we get ill we start changing our diet and taking food supplements. When our loved one or child starts looking elsewhere for affection we start acting tender and caring.

That’s not the time to make a fresh start.

Now is the only time…

(From The Pegasus NLP Newsletter – 9 September 2000)



The Pegasus NLP Newsletter

Most articles on this site were first published in the Pegasus NLP Newsletter.

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