The other day I had an “encounter” with a family member. “Encounter”? Let me be frank and honest. I got slimed. This brought up the usual miserable stuff in me.
Bugs Is Concerned
This time, however, I am determined to put this depressing event to good use. I want to use it to practice my “anti-fragility” skills.
“Anti-fragile” is a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his most recent book of the same name. Michiko Kakutani, of the New York Times, defines Taleb’s “anti-fragility” as “poised to benefit or take advantage of stress, errors and change, the way, say, the mythological Hydra generated two new heads, each time one was cut off.”
I Want More Heads
John Singer Sargent, “Hercules and Hydra,” Boston Museum of Fine Arts
As we are all poised for entry into 2014, and I into my new life as a licensed attorney, I have decided that it will no longer do, to get slimed like this. So I have singled out four stress-and-error-laden challenges I commonly “encounter.” I want these to stand for, to signify, their “anti-fragile” opposites.
Bugs Is Resolute
Stress-and-Error-Laden Challenge No. One
The narrative from the past creates a condition of confusion, anger, and despair. It becomes impossible to perceive what might really be happening now, in real time. There appears to be no realistic reason to persevere. Perception blanks out, and the “old story” takes over.
I become more confident that I am perceiving the best approximation of what’s really happening. Recognizing, of course, that my perceptions are inherently limited, still, I want to form the most reasonably precise connection, as best I can, with what’s really at hand.
Calm, If Skeptical, Equanimity Can Prevail
Stress-and-Error-Laden Challenge No. Two
Confusion, anger, and despair create a perfect storm of co-contraction. I mean, being pulled in two opposite directions. The result is an inability to move, to decide, to act. Connection has become impossible, like two counter-valent magnets struggling to get away from other. “Flee” fights with “fight.” Frozen inaction results.
Not The Pretty Kind Of Freezing. Not Like This.
Ambivalence resolves into whole-heartedness. Action becomes possible or even clear.
Eat When Hungry
Stress-and-Error-Laden Challenge No. Three
The condition of blankness leads to existential indifference. What’s the use. Who gives a rip. Nothing works, nothing matters.
I can use everything I’ve got: Thought, sensation, experimentation. I explore how to push the edge of adventure, skillfully, mediating uncertainty with curiosity and risk with reward.
Exploring The Options, One Way And The Other
Stress-and-Error-Laden Challenge No. Four
Intense aversion and freezing lead to rigidity, zero ideas, and disorganization into the ugliness of hatred.
Exploration and curiosity lead to spontaneity, creativity, and enjoyment. Beauty and joy are possible, they bloom, they are spectacular.
It’s an ambitious program. But I’ve got good help.
New year, new YOU! Go get ’em girlfriend!!! I know you have the power to transform!! XOXO
knowledge is power
Awesome! And yes, you do have some great helpers, and teachers. 😉
Purrfect…. Paws up to ya!!
Prayers that your transformation is totally successful. Love & Whiskers
Anita, you’re such a beautiful and kind person. You, of all people, do not deserve to be slimed! I’m so glad that you have turned this into a positive challenge, it’s a lesson we can all use. And yes, You have all the help you need..
I have come down with a nasty cold, and won’t be at Feldenkras tomorrow. Hope to see you soon.
As my daughter would say – use your cat-titude.
How nice that the boys have become such good friends!
This is a very inspiring post! We wish you great success and a very happy new year!
Sorry someone snotted on you. Seems like you are determined to turn it to your advantage, go you!
Hee, awesome post Anita, and I love it that the Kitties are helping. It’s great that you are rising above the “dramas”. 🙂