I recently went to the Circus. Not Ringling Brothers Circus or Barnum & Bailey, but a small local circus that comes into Harrisburg once a year. The 71st Annual Zembo Shrine Circus, located on N. 3rd Street & Division Streets in the city, the unique building is one of Harrisburg’s gems. It’s a throwback to a different time.
There were lots of animals and performers doing amazing feats including juggling, tight-rope-walking, balancing on circular objects that could turn and twist at any moment. At times I was excited and as I thought more and more about the performers, I realized that life can be like an amazing circus, if I think about it.
The definition of a circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, unicyclists, as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. The term ‘circus’ also describes the performance, which has followed various formats through its 250-year modern history.
The show is really all about practicing something each person enjoys to a point where they are so good at it that people pay to watch them do this act. What this means is each person decides to make calculated decisions and risks in order to do what they love, no matter the opinion of others, no matter how much someone says it’s impossible, and in spite of the fact that people before them have died trying to do some of these feats.
It made me think about how much I act on my thoughts and how much do I try to do the “impossible” everyday. Here’s five things I think I will start doing that I can live my life more like the performers who I watched do amazing things.
- Practice. Each one of these performers didn’t just get on stage the first day of trying something and succeed, nor did they do it the first time and make it look easy as it does after days, weeks, months, and years of practice.
- Confidence. In the face of danger or failure, each person in the circus showed their confidence in their body language and facial expressions. They knew what they were doing. Sometimes things are scary. In the face of danger, the male tight-rope-walker had a genuine look of fear in combination with focus on his face when the lovely women stood above his head, on his shoulders, while he balanced on a thin rope above the crowd, and close to the ceiling of the building.
- Persistence. Each one of these performers showed that they would try over and over again and not gives up. If I want something, I’m going to need to do the work, and fail, and fail again, and fail again. And fall. Each time, picking myself up and knowing that this is what I want, to succeed at life, I’m not giving up on myself.
- Takes Risks. I’m pretty sure that there was a day, if not many days, when the performers were faced with family and/or friends who didn’t support them in their adventure of being a circus performer. I’m sure that some of them had people tell them they wouldn’t and couldn’t succeed, or that what they dreamed of wasn’t sustainable or possible for their life. And each one didn’t let the people who told them they “couldn’t” stop them, they did it anyway. That’s a great lesson in life for myself, to never limit my ability and trust that I’m the only one that can decide what’s right for my life and my well being. If I want to do something, no matter what it is, I’m going to work on trusting that I know what’s best, and that if I’m wrong, no doubt I’ll learn something, so there’s really no reason to NOT do something.
- TO TRULY LIVE ONES TRUTH. Some people take the “safe” route and get a job that pays the bills but isn’t something they enjoy or find meaningful. All the performers decided that a conventional life wasn’t for them, or at least they knew they wanted to do something else other than a typical 9-5 kind of job and each one had to dedicate time, resources, and make sacrifices to be in a circus and demonstrate an amazing skill. That’s not easy, going against what seems to be the “right way” for most people to go, and the “safe way” for most people so we feel secure and in control. The truth is, I always believed in doing something that I thought was meaningful but I didn’t really realize the factors that went into my decisions, or really think past one day or one year. Truth about one self, really knowing one self, means that it’s just the right thing to do. I know that right now the right thing for me to do is focus on learning my truth. I never really invested in myself as much as in something or someone else, so it’s time to really invest in myself and put as much time, energy, and determination into discovering my truth, passion, and value.