Chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors, and uncertainty – among other factors commonly perceived as negative – are not necessarily our enemies. Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out once again in his latest masterwork, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, that we live in a “Black Swan” world where unpredictable events that have maximum impact on our lives happen necessarily and, well, unpredictably. These events are “Black Swans” in Taleb’s prose. In our complex, modern lives, these factors – chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors and uncertainty – are not a matter of choice; they exist and in ever-increasing quantities. We will run into them, or they will run into us. So, instead of positioning ourselves against them, why not use them as “friends” or at least as “allies” in our development of self?
How many years do searchers of peace spend looking, but never finding it? And how many conclude that, just maybe, it’s not possible at all, resigning themselves to isolated moments of peace within a more general state of chaos and inner inquietude? Peace is possible, but seems impossible until you find it. We in some way expect to find it as an external “thing,” some physical object found in our outer environment, or as a lifestyle that provides an inner security. But once found, we are often surprised to learn that peace is different than we thought it would be. It is not external. It arises as if spontaneously from a more internal process – a self-catalyzing end-process that springs from an inner “organized” chaos. Thinking about collectively autocatalytic systems helps understand why this is the case, and how we can encourage the seemingly spontaneous arousal of peace in our lives.
William Glasser was an American psychiatrist who had a profound effect on the early development of my approach to life, therapy and coaching. His unconventional voice in the fields of psychiatry and psychology was responsible for giving me, and many others, hope in a profession that felt stifling and impractical. He passed away this year, but he and his work live on in those millions of us who found hope and healing in his message. Rest in peace, Dr. Glasser.
Gifted people have big agendas – they want to learn and accomplish so much in life! However, without understanding how to best manage their energy, they often find themselves burning out or otherwise not concentrating well, not accomplishing what they want, and not being satisfied with themselves. Learn about how I help my gifted clients learn to better understand and manage their energy to increase productivity, creativity, self-care and self-esteem.
Often accompanied by an intense inner disharmony, giftedness has more than once been confused with pathology in the course of history. Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration offers an astoundingly positive and hopeful approach to understanding the seemingly pathological disharmony that the gifted often experience. Rather than mental weakness or illness, he argues that this inner disharmony is the great catalyst of self-actualization.
Clients often come to me in a state of agitation, impatience and panic (real or existential, sometimes both), wanting a “magic solution” for their current dilemma – which is, in fact, a microcosmic representation or symptom of their overall life dilemma. And while I really do have a “magic solution” to share with them, it’s never what they expect, and like any good magic trick, it takes practice to master. The magic solution? Gratitude.
Many of us conceptualize “struggle” as “bad.” In our limited view, we consider that to struggle means to be in pain, and that to be in pain is bad. But it is exactly this reasoning that has caused so many of us to fall repeatedly into cycles of struggle recreation (often called self-defeating behavior patterns): to avoid struggle is to short-circuit a natural and necessary growth process, keeping us in a “Groundhog Day” pattern of personal and relational problems. How can we resolve this dilemma?