Not Minding That It Hurts

I read my friend Jarrod’s Year in Review, where he described a scene from Lawrence of Arabia:

There is a scene in the movie Lawrence of Arabia where one of the soldiers (William Potter) asks his Lieutenant (T.H. Lawrence) to light his cigarette.

Lawrence proceeds to strike a match and set Potter’s cigarette alight (as any good lieutenant would).

Mission accomplished…or so we think.

Rather than blowing out the match, Lawrence holds it out, looks around to make sure he has everyone’s attention, and then proceeds to pinch the flame between two fingers (without flinching).

Clearly amazed by the spectacle, Potter grabs a fresh match, strikes it, and tries to do the same.

As soon as his fingers touch the flame, however, he jumps up and exclaims, It damn hurts!”

Lawrence, clearly amused by the spectacle, gets up and responds, Of course it hurts.”

Potter retorts, Well, what’s the trick then?”

To which Lawrence responds, The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”

In the past, I’ve observed individuals extinguishing the metaphorical match with their fingers. When I asked about their technique, I found that most responded similarly to the Lieutenant, The trick is not minding it hurts.”

Nowadays, people sometimes observe me doing the same trick and I get asked the same question, What’s the trick?” The trick is showing up, doing the work, and not minding the pain.

December 30, 2023

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