A long-time friend and mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy, recently wrote a piece I had to print here. I will not change of word of it, but have shortened it a little. – Ron LeGrand
Climb Without the Rope
I finally got ‘round to watching The Dark Knight Rises, the 3rd and final and only disappointing film in the trilogy produced by Christopher Nolan. In it, there is a hellhole of a prison, deep beneath earth’s surface, featuring the ultimate cruelty: impossible hope. There is a tall tower carved out of rock, rising several stories to the surface, blue sky visible when standing at its bottom looking straight up. Prisoners are free to attempt climbing up and out, and do from time to time, with a rope tied around their waist to catch them bungee-style before they fall to their death. There is a legend known to all the suffering prisoners, passed from one generation to the next, about the only person ever to succeed at this escape – a child. It is in the subterranean hell that a crippled Batman, i.e. Bruce Wayne has been left to die. After a brutally difficult, primitively managed rehab, he attempts and fails at this escape not once, but twice. At point of surrender, an aged prisoner who has befriended him tells him the secret of the child who did successfully clamber up the entire tower and escape: the child climbed without the rope. The weight of the rope, more the imbedded thought created by wearing the rope that one is going to fall, gave just enough burden to ensure failure. The old man says that to have a chance “you must climb without the rope.”
This is a remarkable success parable buried in this film that few will notice. Most people try to achieve various lofty ambitions – perhaps the greatest of which is freedom and autonomy – while still dragging contrary convention, industry norms, counterproductive beliefs, slothful behavior, etc. tied to them by heavy rope. The higher they try to climb, the heavier the burden of the rope. I’m often asked, to be super successful, must I lose my friends? If your friends are un-ambitious or delusional or toxic, yes, they must be left behind. You must sever your ties to ALL the ordinary ideas and behaviors and business practices of the masses, of the majorities. You must climb without the rope.
Anyway, there’s probably a rope tied around your waist, perhaps thinned by you, skinny as twine, perhaps thicker and heavier than the huge ropes tied to steamships’ anchors. You might want to pull on it and examine all that is tied to its other end. Shedding dead weight eases and speeds the journey. Oh, and the heaviest dead weights are never things or people; they are thoughts and beliefs.