When I was younger, I read a book – Whatever you think, think the opposite – by Paul Arden.
In this book, I remember distinctly, two protagonists. One called steady Eddy, and the other Reckless Erika. One climbs the corporate ladder and over the course of his stable ascension, becomes ” a bit dull”, by “40 he’s moved sideways and by 47 he’s out.”. Then there’s Erika, who’s somewhat unreliable, produces lots of ideas, gets recognized for some of them, gets fired for being unreliable, and then starts over. By 40 she’s got a track record of lots of breakthroughs on her CV and is in high demand. I’m probably butchering this and I’ll have to pick up a copy of the book to rectify. But you get my point.
When I read this, I didn’t want to be the man paying top dollar to go to university for 5 to 9 years, enter a big corporation, and climb the corporate ladder one step at a time until I reached 45 and had no juice left in me to live life by age 47.
I associated far more with Erika’s trajectory. The unreliable girl who got good breakthroughs, then went away for a bit, went down to rock bottom and then somehow came back and achieved something bigger (at least thats how I perceived and remembered it. Perhaps I was seeing my own trajectory…) Like a frantic up and down Bull and bear market giving birth to a zigzag.
The degree of stability Mr 9.5 Eddy enjoyed, was not a luxury I had ever had. In fact, for most of my life everything had been hectic and unstable despite my best efforts to be Mr 9.5. I went to school, studied,
learned some things, came out with a few diplomas and then went out into the real world to be a man.
Then life happened.
There’s no “I’m a man” when you’re suddenly hit with the patterns of the subconscious effects of an unstable life. It’s not our fault, but it’s there, naked standing in the middle of the room. You can’t really force your way through emotional turmoil and believe that everything will be alright. Your habits, especially having to adapt to other peoples turmoil, cross your life like a freight train. In the moment, you adapt, you wonder what is happening to you. And then you plunge under and an ocean of overwhelm takes over.
Your life goes awry and you have to figure out how to deconstruct your addictions, your limitations, your fragilities and build yourself back up. One goes through a number of trials and unfortunate situations before being able to lift their head up above water surface. These circumstances, I’d say are like gravel traps on an F1 circuit. If we’re going the wrong way, they take our power away from us until we can properly distinguish our path again. And we have a good number of ways we go awry in life. We’re taught a good number of things which aren’t helpful and pick up a few bad habits along the way, and when we need to wake up and start making our own decisions, we’re left with roads that lead us away from the destinations we need to go to. So, in a way these gravel pits life makes are good, they allow us to slow down, reevaluate and determine with a clear head what it is we want and then go after it.
After going awry, we get to shoot back up to a prominent role, even higher than the last one. The accumulation of all of those daring crazy decisions, risks, the vulnerability, it all adds up. The situations and decisions that once seemed far too crazy now seem easy and risk free, because we’ve already demystified them by daring so much. Now, obviously people who haven’t taken those risks will perceive them as beyond audacious. Crazy even. Though, the person who has somehow self-initiated themselves to what would seem crazy to others, also opens doors which are invisible to everyone but themselves.
Because of one’s crazy audacious nature, amazing opportunities arise naturally because that’s what we’ve been accumulating all along. The depth of one’s failures create the hight of one’s accomplishments.
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