Monday, February 23, 2009

"Cowards die many times . . ."

I've been studying a series of courses called Simpleology for the last few years off and on. Sometimes they drive me nuts: they just don't scratch where I itch. But then, at other times, I realize I need their gentle discipline to keep me moving forward and on track day to day.

Right now I am in a period of time where I am trying to use the program to good benefit. And so, this morning, I listened to Simpleology 103, Lesson 20: "Sources of Distress: Mental Poison."

At one point, the instructor, Mark Joyner, quotes Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 2, where Caesar, trying to explain why he is unwilling to be cowed by his opponents, says, "Cowards die many times before their deaths;/The valiant never taste of death but once."

The point: Because they concentrate so much upon risks and opportunities for failure, cowards often permit themselves to operate as if they really were dead. They don't do what they believe they ought to to do . . . out of fear.

Such "operational" death is bad enough. But for the cowards who are aware of their cowardice, I imagine there is a form of mental death as well every time they act as if they were dead: how crushing to the human spirit!

The valiant, meanwhile, thrust aside their fears and proceed to do what they believe they ought to. And so, they do not die until physical death takes them away.

Joyner, of course, urges us to follow the path of the valiant and avoid the mental poison of, as he puts it, "obsessing over failures." Other mental poisons he urges us to avoid:
  • Negativity
  • Hatred
  • Anger
  • Pessimism
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