There are moments in our lives where we face that pesky old fork in the road. Our mental fortitude is tested right up to its breaking point. It is in these moments where many of us find out just what type of person we are, who we might become, or where the needle of resiliency falls on the meter of life. Do you have ice in your veins or should we just stick a fork in ya? The greats of our world thrive in these jungles of anxiety. The weak wilt quicker than a poinsettia after Christmas.
Life's tests come in all shapes and sizes, and they come on like a meteor shower. One moment you're clammy prepubescent hand is white-knuckling the phone while you attempt to stammer out a question coherent enough for the girl on the other end of the line to understand. Will she go out with you? Depends if you put enough confidence behind that proposal. And just when you hurdle that feat you're presented with another, and another, and still they keep coming.
Your buddies just jumped off that train trestle into the river. You're up next. Leap or lie down?
Final exam you stayed up all night preparing for? Ace or bomb?
Interview time. I sure as shit hope you impressed that head hunter with your answer of where you see yourself in five years. Side note: That's a terrible question. Folks in the business of talent acquisition need to stop asking it already.
We're tested damn near everyday and all along the way we can acquire tools of the trade if we're wise. Forgiveness, confidence, kindness, a shit ton more, and finally....patience.
They say it's a virtue. Can we argue with that logic? Some withstand an entire lifetime while shaping this talent, for it is not easy. Straws break camels' backs. Patience can break your will. The balance is more delicate than the web of a spider. One day you think you've solved the riddle and the next you've blown your top.
Enter, quite possibly, life's greatest test. The Shell Shock.
Most of you remember the game. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade. That game makes Frodo's journey to Mordor look like a school field trip. How the developer of THAT game packed THAT much joy into our lives I'll never know. Might be time to chalk this one up as the eighth wonder of the world. One word. Four syllables. Cowabunga.
Where am I going with this you ask? Time to elaborate.
Let's circle back and tie in our rundown on patience. It is within this very game where I believe some of us faced our toughest challenge in the quest to conquer patience. There you were, ripping through the game as your favorite Turtle. You're blasting through Foot Clan soldiers at an alarming rate. Your score is flirting with a personal best. You're on a high you may never feel again. And just when you raise a battle cry begging Shredder to appear the chaos descends. You're side by side with your buddy fending off a swarm of your foes when one of those stealthy villains gets the best of you. It only took one hit from behind. Now you've got two to three of those bastards snatching up the bars which represent your life. One hit....shit. Another....oh, no. Quick, jump! You can outmaneuver these punks! Another blow. Panic starts to set in. Annnnd dammit. The final strike connects and down you go. SHELL SHOCK.
Here's your classic 'out of body' experience. You're literally staring at a screen that's showing you your lifeless body. Not only is it lifeless, it's helpless. You're poor friend is taking a beating. God bless that son of a bitch because he's doing all he can to keep this game from coming to a screeching halt. He's dancing a fine line between hysterical laughter and desperate weeping. You want nothing more than to get back into the fight, to assist your falling comrade. Alas, you're mercilessly forced to watch as the clock ticks away. Your recharge is out of grasp. Each second feels like years being taken from your life. You want to scream but the sound just won't escape your lips. Now you must wait. You must collect yourself and come back a stronger Turtle. A stronger man. It's either that or you give in to failure and let it consume you. This is the path that's been lain before you. Destiny is in the balance.
That shit is deep.
Deep, yet necessary. A gnarly test presented to such a young mind. Think back on those days. How did it shape you? Are you still in shell shock or did you rise from the ashes and take the world by storm?
Patience. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Life lessons. Good evening.