Dear juggler, I saw you grabbing one ball and throwing it up in the air. It seemed easy, you knew how and when it would come back to your hand. You learnt how to deal with that one ball so many centuries ago. What do you call your ball? Food? Shelter?
But you are not comfortable in your comfort zone, aren't you? Once you mastered that ball, it was time for a second one; you have at least two hands, and coordination. Agriculture? That sounded doable, it just required a little bit of focus, but it could be done. And so your game began, faster, and faster every second. Then a third one: life expectancy. Then a fourth one: peace. Five: institutions. Six: income. Seven: wellbeing. And you still managed, one ball at a time, getting better every year. You are far from perfect, but you stand still, with focus, handling every piece and correcting your mistakes. You seem confident, and you should be! Very few have those skilled hands. You were a visionary monkey; you knew your hands would take you far.
I know you are getting better, and you will continue to get better, but… I have bad news for you. Your skilled hands might not be enough, because you are not standing on stable grounds. The floor will shake, sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot. You’ve seen that happen before; remember that time a disease made all of your balls stumble at once, unexpectedly? It wasn’t that long ago juggler, even if you impressively jumped straight back to the game, even if you keep playing and ignoring that the world is still shaking because of it. Don´t forget it, don’t ignore it, because it will happen again, no matter how hard you try to keep your momentum. What are you doing? A new ball? Technology? Just… Can you…
Dear juggler, slow down, just for a second. You need a steady ground first… and you probably won't find a steady ground. But that will not stop you, because you’re not comfortable in your comfort zone, remember? Your problem, juggler, is that skilled hands and clumsy feet won't get you anywhere anymore. I’ve got a solution: stop adding balls, get lighter, slow down, and learn how to dance.
Only dancing will allow you to respond fast enough to the earthquakes that will come. Only dancing will help you adapt as you go. Only dancing will make you sustainable.
Remember, dear juggler, that the skilled dancer is a good listener first: listen to the shaky ground, make sure you know how it moves, how often, what makes it shake. Identify its alarms and rhythms, it won’t take you too long to realize that often you are the one making it shake by stealing its balls off the ground. Where did you think those balls were coming from anyway? Certainly they didn’t fall from the sky! That’s why you will never find completely steady grounds, because you won’t be able to juggle without stealing some balls, and that makes your grounds shaky. But the ground is kind to you and it will sustain you as it has done so far, just don’t mess too much more with it.
Anyway, back to the dancing lesson. Once you identify the rhythm of your shaky ground, learn how to move your feet, and your knees. One, two, three, one, two, three. These movements, juggler, will allow you to stumble instead of falling, because you might never recover from a devastating fall. In the process, stumble if you need to, but make sure to learn as much as you can from every single one of your errors, because the harm it causes to your juggling is bad enough; you can’t afford not to learn from your mistakes.
You seem discouraged, juggler, and I understand. I know that you’re a better juggler than dancer. I know that your true potential is in the sky and not in the ground. I know how high you can throw the balls, I know how high you COULD throw the balls. I know how beautiful the balls and its patterns could get. I’m not trying to take that away from you. I promise that this pause will be temporary. You need to slow down to focus on your feet for a while, and then, once you can dance, you can juggle forever. You will speed up, you will make unimaginable patterns, you will add as many balls as you want. But to juggle in these grounds, you need to learn how to dance.