Six year old me loved my container of marbles. They were a gift from my father and there were all different kinds in my collection. I had large ones, small ones, ones with the tiger’s eye, ones made of frosted glass and more. I would literally spend hours analyzing each one, and proudly displaying them in my room.

When school rolled around I was desperate to show them off. I was prideful of my marbles. So I grabbed the wooden box they were in, stuffed it into my backpack and off to school I went.

Before class all the kids would congregate on the school yard to play ball, talk, or in my case – shoot some marbles.

I carefully displayed the box of marbles to a chorus of “ohs” and “ahs” – much to my satisfaction.

My plan had worked and my pride from the admiration was overflowing.

Then it happened. The box of marbles got knocked over and my precious collection of glass went sprawling out faster than my eyes could track.

I can still see all the greedy hands of all my classmates reaching into my field of vision to quickly claim that which I had lost.

I tried to plead for help, to get my lost marbles back – but alas they were gone. I had about 1/10th of the marbles I had gone to school with. My collection was devastated.

The rest of the day I did my best to choke back my tears and bury down my emotions. I was mortified of what my father would say when I got home (after all, he did gift me the marbles).

“You should have known better.”

“You were careless.”

“How would you do that?”

It was not more than a minute or two upon walking through the door that I finally let all the tears out. I pleaded that it was not my fault, that they were stolen and how unfair it was.

I got the lecture from my father, about as bad as I anticipated and I went to sleep feeling empty.

Now… obviously this true story about me losing my marbles, 30 years later, is hilarious in context – but at the time it left an imprint. What did I learn from this experience?

  • Showing off is a bad thing
  • It is risky to brag or show what you have
  • If you have it, people will steal it
  • You will get in trouble for being prideful
  • Unless you hold onto things tightly, you may lose them

That can really mess up one’s journey to become an entrepreneur. To get loud and be heard. To have pride in what they do. To feel the abundance of limitless wealth the universe provides.

I have had to do a tremendous amount of inner work to let go of stories like this. To thank them for having their place in my life – but to then dismiss them because those fears no longer serve me.

Have you been afraid of losing your marbles? Metaphorically speaking of course. What is at the root of this fear and how can you scale beyond it to chart on the journey at full speed versus always being held back?

As always, we love it when you share this article online or with a friend!

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto