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Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake. – William James

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn. – Henry David Thoreau

Here’s your wake up call. The world needs you. Why? Because “[c]ompared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.”

We all have tremendous potential inside. We can all impact culture for the better, but we don’t because we have been lulled to sleep by the thoughts that we are too old, too young, too fat, too skinny, too weak, too poor, and so on. So we stay half-asleep, not making a difference.

Lies. All of them.

This is your wake-up call. Today, we need more people to be awake. Society needs us to be attentive, present to the needs at hand, noticing where we are and what is in front of us.

Skaters know how to do this because if they want to excel, get better, learn more, and not get hurt, they are always on the lookout for places to ride, practice, and have fun without too much pain—although that comes into play.

They are alert to their surroundings because it’s the small things that cause a lot of problems: their weight is too far forward by a quarter of an ounce, or they didn’t get high enough by half an inch to clear the railing, or their foot was off center by a fraction of centimeter, and they bailed.

No matter what profession you are in, being aware of the people, the places, and the things around you will benefit all. The best performers in any area of life are those who…

  • don’t take a break when the pressure is on
  • don’t walk out a pop fly
  • don’t ignore issues in their path.
  • stay alert and attentive by consciously removing distractions.
  • refuse to spend entire days staring at screens, not moving, not speaking.
  • face their problems and fix them instead of just talking about them

They “reawaken and keep” themselves “awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.” They know what they face today is momentary, and they keep their eyes fixed on the “dawn” of a new trick, job, and creation. That expectation pulls them through the pain of the moment.

Ultimately, being awake means we will live safer, more meaningful lives. When you skateboard, it’s easy to see a car or a tree and to avoid the danger. That doesn’t take a deep awareness. What takes a higher degree of attention are the minor, seemingly trivial things you don’t usually notice. A pebble, an elevated crack in the sidewalk, a water spot on a slick driveway. These more minor things cause a lot of trouble. But being awake will help you avoid the tiny rock that will lock up your wheels.

To see the small things tripping you up, cut the distractions, focus on the end goal, and address the issues in your path.

Easier said than done. Sure. But nothing worthwhile comes without effort and some pain.

See you next week,


Christopher F. Dalton

Christopher F. Dalton is a writer, author, illustrator, small business owner, but more than that he is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three stellar sons, and friend in need. He and his wife run Huck&Dorothy, an entertainment company.