I sometimes sit to watch cartoons with my 4 year old daughter; half the time she blackmails me into spending the time with her , and the other half of the time I tell myself I am 'monitoring' what she is watching. As far as TV offerings go, the children's stations have quite the fare: Princess Sophia, Ben 10, Batman, Dora the Explorer, Jake the (I forget what), Sheriff Callie, Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, and so on. She loves them all but by far her favourite is the old classic Tom and Jerry.
Tom and Jerry, what's not to love? Many of us grew up on the evergreen plot of a cat who can never win, chasing a mouse with evil intent. And even though a few of its characters actually speak nowadays, the cartoon has managed to retain its appeal.
So a few days ago I sat through another cartoon-viewing session, Tom and Jerry were on a trip to Hawaii. As usual things became violent with Tom in hot pursuit of Jerry... into a cave. Unfortunately this cave was the home of a fire goddess, who was not happy about being roused. She rose to her full height, a pillar of fire with feminine curves and a face, towering over Tom and screaming first in an ancient language and then in English. Of course, Tom ran- fast- but she was on his heels, helped by the fact that she was an apparition and really only had to 'appear' when he slowed down.
Finally, Tom found himself at the edge of a cliff and feared his life was over. The fire goddess also knew that so she approached him more slowly and more threateningly. Tom decided the best thing would be to jump off the cliff. As he was about to do so Jerry popped out of the pocket of his (Tom's) Hawaiian shirt and waved a mock goodbye to the goddess. "Ahhhh! A MOUSE! ", she screamed, as, out of fright, she shrunk so small that Jerry was a head taller than her. For a brief second, Tom and Jerry stared at the tiny flame that was previously a raging fire threatening their existence , then as though premeditated, they blew it out. Together. And left me stunned.
Fear is a powerful emotion but can be a double-edged weapon. As a catalyst or a propeller it can move one to heights previously unimagined, but one false thought and fear can reduce you to nothingness; perfectly illustrated by the Hanna Barbera cartoonists in the Tom and Jerry episode. It was also significant to me that the flame was extinguished once it had been proven significantly reduced. When your sense of self-worth is diminished, expect what is left of you to be trampled underfoot by others. It's only natural.
I have observed, as I grow older and more hungry for success, that the most successful people , especially in my industry, are not the most talented, and that is saying a lot. I habour an inner critic that only emerges when watching products from my industry, and I swear I cringe most times at the abject lack of quality in person, product or carriage. But these people are the symbols of success. What do they have that the talented best do not? Boldness. Life favours the bold.
Boldness is not about not having fears, it is about ignoring them. Sometimes all you may need to ignore are the voices. Of naysayers- how this is a stupid idea, how you have lost the plot. Of the person in your head telling you all the reasons why you are not worthy. Other times it may be the problems around that threaten to terminate your dreams that need to be ignored. Boldness is about going on regardless, refusing to be frightened, refusing to shrink.
Because it should never be said that a scurrying mouse doused your wildfire.