What kind of Tarzan are you?


“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” – Unknown

I have this picture in my mind of Tarzan.  Imagine in your mind, Tarzan swinging in the jungle from vine to vine, the ultimate public transport.  He grabs onto a vine and swings, approaching the next vine.  In a swift movement, he grabs onto the next vine, lets go of the first one, and swings off on his merry way – moving forward and closer to his destination.  Can you imagine it?  Now imagine Tarzan swinging up to a vine, grabbing onto it, and then refusing to let go of the first vine.

What would happen?

He would just hang there in mid-air.  He wouldn’t move forward or backward.  He would just be stuck.  He has a choice to make, the old vine or the new one, where he came from versus where he is going, the past or the future.  If he doesn’t make the choice, he will simply get stuck in the present.

It’s a ridiculous picture, and yet many of us sacrifice our futures, or at least stunt its potential, because we insist on hanging onto our own set of baggage.  This could be an offence, or offences, that we haven’t forgiven, it could be a traumatic experience, or even a past success.  Often it is an old thinking paradigm and belief that we are reluctant to give up.  And so we get stuck in the present, not really moving forward.  And in the meantime time marches on, and we grow older, but not really wiser.

Now let’s get back to Tarzan.  There is, of course, the other kind of hand-over, the one where the new vine is out of reach while hanging onto the old one.  In this picture, Tarzan is swinging through the trees, and to grab onto the new vine he has to physically let go of the old vine first.  He flies through the air without a safety net for a short distance, trusting his ability to catch the new vine, and of course the new vine’s ability to carry him.  This requires a leap of faith, because there’s no going back.  It also requires a belief in the future, no matter what it may hold.  And it requires momentum to keep you going, because you can’t grab onto a new vine if you aren’t being propelled forward.

This is the area that really sets apart the true remarkable person.  Letting go of the “old” as soon as it is no longer helpful to take them where they are going, and trusting in the new before it has proven itself.  This is the realm of the futuristic people, the visionaries, the dreamers.  This is Madiba dreaming of a country that isn’t split along racial lines.  This is JFK dreaming of putting a man on the moon.  This is Chris Barnard dreaming of replacing a failed human heart.  This is the Wright Brothers believing beyond popular evidence that it is possible for man to fly.  This is the realm of the pioneers of human achievement.  They go all-in, and they understand that to embrace the new, the old has to be, at best, a distant memory.

This requires all the inner work we have been discussing over the last few weeks, because the momentum that is required is not external.  In fact, in many cases the external factors are contrary to the goal they want to achieve.  The external factors say it can’t be done, we have to get even, we are making fools of ourselves, there is an easier life.

But the remarkable person builds the momentum from the inside.  He works on himself to reduce the baggage, and to increase the belief and the faith.  Does he doubt?  Sure.  Does he get tired of forging on ahead?  Of course.  Does he get hurt by the criticism of others, often those closest to him? Absolutely!  But for the remarkable person, the risk of not going forward is far greater than the risk of staying safe.

There is a saying: – “Better the devil you know, than the one you don’t know.”  I very much doubt that this was ever said by a remarkable person.  The remarkable person will always believe there is a better way, and will take risks to make it so.

So, there are a few types of Tarzan’s here:

  1. 1. The Tarzan that doesn’t let go of the old vine, not even reaching for the new, not moving. This Tarzan just stays in one place, watching others go by and getting bitter.
  2. 2. The Tarzan that grabs the new vine without letting go of the old. He is stuck in no-man’s land, suspended in mid-air, not moving forward or backward, because both vines are too precious to let go of.  He refuses to choose.
  3. 3. The Tarzan that lets go of the old vine ONLY if the new vine is in hand, tested, and proven to be safe. This is logical, rational, and risk-free.  Or so we think, because the risk is that if this Tarzan isn’t convinced, like the previous Tarzan, he stays stuck.
  4. 4. The Tarzan that grabs the new vine, and then lets go of the old. He only takes calculated risks.  This is good, moving forward, and solidly building a future.
  5. 5. The Tarzan who is prepared to let go the old vine first in order to grab onto the new. He is all-in.  He is driven, and he is going to change the world, at the very least for himself and those around him.  What is important to recognize, is that in any vine hand-over, this Tarzan is free to choose any of the 5 approaches, based on whether he thinks they will move closer to the goal.

Which kind of Tarzan would you like to be?

Which kind of Tarzan are you now?

If you are looking to be impacted by “Tarzans” who have been on this journey for many years, this year’s Live2Lead conference in October features five remarkable people! More information at www.live2lead-capetown.co.za.


If you are not yet signed up to receive my blog in your mail, and would like to get it sent to your inbox, sign up here!


Facebook Comments
Spread the love

If you would like to know more about the Dieter Jansen Group and its products and services

Related Products
Contact Me