Notes from the Vortex 11/11/2018
“The trick is not minding.”
That’s what G. Gordon Liddy said when asked how he could hold his hand over a lit candle for such a long period of time.
At one time in my youth, I was obsessed with the kind of discipline it must take to be able to do and say that. Of course, later on I realized that the trick isn’t about not minding, the trick is in being a sociopath.
That said, this entire year has been a sort of lit candle that I’ve had to pass my hand over repeatedly, and I still get asked the same question. How do you do that?
Part of it is not having a choice, I find that we as a species with very little exception will eventually do the right thing — to paraphrase Winston Churchill — after exhausting every other available option. So, I soldier along. It’s more than that, though.
Here’s the thing, though. There have been so many times during the course of this year where I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I did. Sure, I have a few dings in the armor, but what I have found is that the first initial response to bad news or seemingly insurmountable adversity is to flee or take a defeatist view. It’s true that you might not some out of things unscathed, but I have yet to run into a situation that was a worst case scenario, ‘End of the World’ thing.
So, once you realize that those end of the world scenarios are actually extremely rare, it’s possible to sit and think about the possibilities, and think critically about what is the worst that could actually happen. Nothing is going to be good news, but I think once you realize that all those things you think are a 10 on the bad news scale are actually a 4 or 5, then you think about how to resolve those issues as they come.
The trick isn’t ‘not minding’. The trick — if you can call it that — is not panicking.