There will never be too many metaphors involving fire. I like to imagine that our fascination began when lightning struck an animal down, probably a deer since those damn things are always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some proto-human got a whiff of nature’s latest dish and, in spite of his instinctual fear of lightning, kept an eye out for electric Bambi flambé (minus the alcohol—those poor souls wouldn’t experience the arrival of the beer gods for a few million years) in order to create the means to cook on his own. Cooking leads to condensed protein ingestion which leads to brain development which leads to metaphor after metaphor about fire.
Here’s one that has been on my mind lately: in order to stay excited, you have to keep your coals in the fire.
If you’re still of dreaming age—I don’t believe there is such a thing, but a sample of American culture would suggest that, tragically, the large majority of people here give up on their personal goals and dreams by about 45 years of age—you have to be excited! Big goals aren’t achieved solo, and in order to get people to believe in your dreams, you have to have … wait for it … a fire burning inside of you that other people can warm themselves with.
Being excited is easy! I’m excited to be writing this morning after a two years of ADHD induced paralysis. Staying excited for a long time is not as easy. It requires discipline, tenacity, and a real hunger. If that sounds like work, it’s just because it is work. Here comes the metaphor to help you break it down and make it easier to swallow, like Bambi.
Imagine a campfire that’s been burning through the night. Some of your group has gone to bed, the stars are out, and all the stories have been told for the night. You’re staring at the fire burning low. Something gives way, and a coal rolls out of the fire. You watch as the ember’s bright orange glow begins to fade until it’s vanished into the darkness away from the fire.
As you’re looking at the thing, you realize that it has changed. A few minutes ago it was a hot coal in the fire. Now it’s a beat up and burned chunk of wood. In a way, it’s reverted to its former self. This is what happens to us when we stop feeding our fire! We go back to the life we were living before we were excited, usually with the addition of regret.
If you were to pick up that stick and put back in the fire, it would begin to glow almost immediately! Suddenly it would be unrecognizable as a stick, to you or anyone else, and the fire would grow and attract more bodies looking for a place to get warm. Growth and attraction.
Keep your coals in the fire. Don’t let them roll away and die. Do the daily activities that produce results in favor of achieving your goals and dreams. Experience personal growth, and attract the kind of people that will support you along the way. Get excited, and stay excited!
That is all.