Don’t Be Afraid To Get Your Hands Dirty This Year

07 February 2012, by A. Cedilla

How do you get your hands dirty?
Setting illegal activities aside, manual labor is usually the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to dirty hands, right?

Just ask Mike Rowe. Mucking out stalls, taking out the trash, scraping crud off things…getting dirty means getting sweaty, and implies getting smelly as well. The good kind of getting dirty means you’re working at something so hard, and in such an involved way, you can’t help but get it all over you, you’re so into it.

What happens when you get your hands dirty?
You will have the undeniable proof of your labor showing on your body, or smeared on your skin, and aching in your muscles. The dust and grit from the work, plus the sweat that came from doing it and the fine muscle-trembling that comes from lactic acid making itself felt. Getting your hands dirty is a whole-body experience, come to think of it. The experience of getting dirty is intimately tied into full-body involvement.

Think of the ‘war-wounds’ you’ve sported in the past over projects you just threw yourself into, even if it was just battling clutter. Even if it was just spring-cleaning. The dings and scratches. The odd bumps and bruising. Barking your knuckles on rough surfaces. Owies and boo-boos. Dust in your eyes, and grit in tender places. And even if the work doesn’t involve the icky stuff, or is more of mental heavy-lifting, if it leaves you all wrung out, it still qualifies.

The aftermath of getting fully involved is also something everyone experiences, whether they’re children conking out after riotous, romping play, or adults after putting in a full day at the job. They end up tired after staying up late having fun –or finishing the project. After a day well-spent, you crash after the clean-up, satisfied that at least for now, you made the best use of your time.

Why avoid getting your hands dirty?
Because it’s icky, that’s why! Isn’t getting dirty what you were taught to steer clean of in school? (Aside from “Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, keep your things neat and clean, and cover your mouth when you sneeze,” etc. ) And if it’s that hard, let someone else do it. You have your own stuff to handle.

Why do it then?
Because you learn differently this way than when you work all clean and quiet in a sterile environment. Because ‘getting dirty’ demands you throw yourself into it.

At the heart of it all , what I’m talking about now is not to exclusively focus on the idea of just manual labor (despite the many examples) but to look more at the whole-body thing. You know…fully-involved?

When I ask you to not be afraid to get your hands dirty this year, it’s to help nudge you out of your routine thinking patterns.

Don’t think dirt.

Don’t think sweat, ooh, nasty!

Don’t think cheating or cutting corners.

Don’t be afraid to go after your more audacious goals.

Don’t be afraid to get fully-involved.


When you choose to embark on something that will ask you to give up some of your creature comforts or leave your comfort zone, you choose to exercise your inherent ability to influence your life and change your path.

You engender a sense of creation, of release, of contributing something to the world. By focused action and the sum of your efforts, by kindness and connection, by getting yourself in there…when you get involved in what you’re doing, you give off vibes of creativity and intention that can act in ways even you won’t expect.

See, nobody does it alone in this life . In such a connected world, small acts can ripple out and have big effects. You never know.

When you get your hands dirty, that’s because you are IN IT, hand-on, hands-in… you’re learning through your skin, with your eyes and ears, through your bones. You’re IN. You’re not doing things at a distance, or studying at a desk.

Information flows from the sensors in your skin, through all your senses, and your brain processes everything in milliseconds. You’re actively involved. If you go in deep enough, you can get into the flow.

You get to tap the spark of creation that exists in every human being, and that vibrancy can resonate with other people, encouraging them to get fully-involved as well.

You get deeper into your life, and in return, you grow out. Paradoxically, the deeper you go, the bigger you can get.

It’s like stripping yourself of your pre-conceptions, ‘things you now fer sure, dude,’ and limiting beliefs.

Do the dirty job of stripping the accumulated years of mental gunk off, you see that underneath it all lies a human being, just like any other — and you use that connection, that just-like-ness, that oh-so-common commonality to find your tribe, your niche, or hey, your market. You find like-minded individuals. You tap into a community. You build relationships.

Finishing up:
Get dirty. Get out there and go after what you want, get on the field, hit the ground, take it to the mat, get yourself out there and dance. Take the hits and see what you got.

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