In his book titled, ‘The Way of the Superior Man’, David Deida outlines the concept of the Edge. Everyone has an edge, that marks the boundaries of what we are presently capable of, and it is different for each of us. He defines it as such:
Your edge is where you stop short, or where you compromise your fullest gift, and, instead, cater to your fears.
Your edge is the line where the roar of fear rings loud in your ears. It is the line you refuse to cross in pursuit of your dream, of your deepest desire. It is where you stop listening to your higher calling, dreams and ambition and give in to the voice of fear.
A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. – Tim Ferris
Over the course of the past 9 months, I have broached topics around embracing discomfort, and learning to suffer. The path to real transformative growth begins when you understand the keys to your breakthrough are precisely in the place you have decided not to look. Our greatest capacity for great change is at the points of our greatest weaknesses. We have to shine the light into the dark cave, into the places we hide our deepest secrets, our shortcomings, our shame.
In the journey to getting what you want, in the pursuit of success, however you define it, your progress, and your ascent is limited by your edge. To move from one level to another, you have to transcend this edge.
Yes, you have done quite well so far. Hopefully, you have racked up a few wins. But we are still early in this journey, there is much yet to be done. Let your success so far be an encouragement to you, that trusting in the process works. That knowing what you want, and focusing on the One Thing, and starting badly, and bouncing back from failure, and staying absolutely focused…these things work.
But this is no time to rest on your oars. This is no time to take a break, this is no time to break the chain or lose momentum. This is the time to use your early successes, your defeats, your scars and wins, your whole journey so far as fuel. You have come so far. The question is, how much further can you go?
To go further, to level up. You have to play at your edge.
Live with your lips pressed against your fears, kissing your fears, neither pulling back nor aggressively violating them. – David Deida
Your edge is the place you let fear stop you, the place you feel is out of your reach, the place you dread to thread. This fear is a gift. It imbues you with an aliveness, with a certain vitality
Heart beatin’ fast, let a nigga know he alive. – J Cole (Love Yourz, 2014 Forest Hills Drive)
You have to feel the fear, acknowledge it, and then step beyond it. You have to feel the texture of your fear until you are no longer uncomfortable with it. You have to step outside your comfort zone regularly, that is how it begins to expand to accommodate you.
We feel that fear and inertia the most, at the action we refuse to take, the standard we refuse to hold ourselves to. And if you want to grow and become more than you are, you must do the thing you have never done. The thing you have avoided or been oblivious of.
If you want a better working situation, you have to take the steps to search for, apply for, prepare for and interview for new jobs. If you want to do your own thing, you would have to take the hard steps of getting serious about it and doing the research and figuring out what that business would look like and ways to get it off the ground. You will need to find the strength to walk out the door of your present job into the life that awaits you.
Sure, it is scary. Sure, the stakes are high. But that is what keeps you alive and blazing with passion. Taking calculated risks, stepping into the unknown.
A fearful man who knows he is fearful is far more trustable than a fearful man who isn’t aware of his fear. And a fearful man who still leans into his fear, living at his edge and putting his gift out from there, is more trustworthy and more inspirational than a fearful man who hangs back in the comfort zone, unwilling to even experience his fear on a day to day level. – David Deida
The edge is where you let yourself get lazy. The edge is the place you procrastinate, saying you will get around to doing things later. The edge is where you don’t set proper definite goals you are accountable for. The edge is where you are comfortable. The edge is where your breakthrough hides.
Your fear is the sharpest definition of your self. You should know it. You should feel it virtually constantly. Fear needs to become your friend, so that you are no longer uncomfortable with it. Rather, primary fear shows you that you are at your edge. Staying with the fear, staying at your edge, allows real transformation to occur. – David Deida
If you will move to the next level. If you will move on to the next curve of the upward spiral, you must do the new thing, you must hold yourself to a higher standard. You must go harder, push yourself, taking upon even more burden and responsibility on your shoulders.
How that looks in practice is up to you. It might mean more or heavier reps in the gym. It might mean a personal trainer and a stricter cleaner diet. It might mean taking on more responsibility at work and leading a project or a team. It might mean cleaning up your business financials and getting more organized, it might mean making your first hire. It could mean taking your relationship seriously and committing to it. It might mean leaving your job, it might mean starting that business.
The point is, you have to play at your edge. You have to overwhelm yourself and grow. You have to step outside your comfort zone. Feel the fear, always, and use it. Let it be constantly around you, prodding you and pushing you, making you do and do and do. That is how you move the edge, that is how you increase your comfort zone, until you break through, until you get what you want.