I’ve known Bill for many years. He’s retired now, but he used to work in a variety of jobs for several open pit rock quarries in the region. Recently he described to me how they used dynamite to blast rock from the pit, which they then hauled up to the surface and carried out in large trucks.
On one occasion Bill was working with his supervisor, Doug, to set up locations of drill holes for the placement of dynamite. Bill worked twenty feet or more from the edge of the pit, but Doug chose to stand within six feet of the edge, even leaning over the edge periodically to look down into the quarry.
Bill warned Doug about standing close to the edge—even though Doug was the supervisor and nominally more experienced—but Doug ignored him. He said he was enjoying the view. When Bill walked to a nearby truck to get a piece of equipment, he heard a sudden grating noise and turned to see that Doug was nowhere to be seen. Rushing to Doug’s previous location, Bill looked over the edge to see Doug sprawled on the rocks 160 feet below.
You might think that standing on the edge of a solid rock cliff would be relatively safe, but with all the surrounding blasting, the rock had been fractured and rendered unstable. Despite the rock ledge weighing hundreds of tons, the weight of a single man—insignificant by comparison—was enough to bring down the entire formation.
We can’t afford to stand near the emotional edge either. It may seem to us that we are safe, but all around and within us are past and present influences that we are unaware of. We especially tend to under-appreciate the effect of our wounds. We might, for example, believe that no harm will come from dabbling with a little irritation. But we stand on the edge of a cliff, and in the blink of an eye the ground beneath us gives way, and we find ourselves in a free fall with serious consequences.
Don’t stand on the edge. Adopt a zero tolerance for any judgment or behavior that takes you toward the abyss of unhappiness. Click here: It is not worth seeing how close you can get to disaster.
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