On Dealing With Chaos

Here’s a few thoughts I have on anxiety, playing defensively in life, and generally how to deal with bad things.

Life is less about learning how to operate in optimal conditions and more about learning to operate in dreadful ones. Life is easy when everything is sunshine and roses. Anyone can do that. When it’s rain and decay, train yourself. The people who are remembered are the ones who operate well in these latter conditions. 

Playing defensively protects you from the harsher damages of randomness. We fear chaos and uncertainty. Defensive actions protect you from both. But be careful — too much defense and you’ll never score.

I’ve lived long enough to know that disasters usually resolve to good outcomes and sure things resolve to disasters. Things always end up okay in the end. But that doesn’t mean God won’t make you fight for it.

Always be wary of those who are eager to make you feel guilty. More than likely, they’re trying to get something out of you. Instead of immediately lowering your defenses, try to understand what they could be after.

Social ostracization can be combated with charisma. Artistic luck can be combated by business skills. There is always a move. Life is never over with zero moves left in play. It can only end that way if you convince yourself that it’s true. 

Anxiety is medicine for growth. Stomach it, and you will succeed. You train physically by testing your muscles until they get sore, giving them a few days of rest, and then trying the whole thing over again. For mental tasks, you live in anxiety until you get the job done, get a few days of rest, etc. etc. 

Don’t worry about rejection. Worry about progress. Taking rejection personally slows applying, and thus also slows growth. It’s better to put applications (whether they be careers, relationships, fundraising, or otherwise) on a conveyor belt and have them go in and out as quickly as possible.  

Thinking you can’t do it is part of what’s holding you back. Why not just try? So you fail — and what? Does failing really make it so scary, that you’d rather not do it at all?

Fear of failure is what prevents success. Our fears drive our anxieties, and our anxieties drive what we do and do not accomplish. Fight back the anxiety, reduce the fear — only then can you do the full scope of what you’re capable of. 

Observation: Those who are more willing to face their personal troubles/demons appear to be more resilient as a whole. The opposite, of course, is also true: if you hide from yourself, if you aren’t willing to sometimes delve down those deep caves and get hurt, then you’re going to lose a chunk of your potential. That doesn’t mean you have to go to those places alone — in fact, it’s better if you have some support — but it doesn’t mean you should ignore them, because they certainly aren’t going away.

You’ll figure it out. Don’t worry too much. Take a deep breath. Trust me — you’ll figure it out.

You cannot ask life for a new playing board and rules — rather, you must take the rules and the board and make the best move with it. Your life is not ruined because something bad happens to you — hell, it is not ruined if you do that thing. You cannot mope, whine, complain about your circumstances. It’s part of the game that sometimes in life strategy is thrown out the window and you’ve gotta play the game by ear. Get good at doing both. 

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