I found 2 great articles on 2 different great blogs a few days ago. The articles are both about how people react to external circumstances.

The first one is Deal With it, Princess. You should probably read it now, otherwise what follows might spoil you.

Anyway the blog post is about how the way we react to a bad external circumstance often makes the problem bigger and harder to solve:

All these kinds of thinking have two important traits in common:

1. They have a snowball effect. You could spend your entire life talking to yourself and others about how Sheila shouldn’t be speaking to you that way, or people shouldn’t drive the way they do, or they shouldn’t make the package so fucking hard to open.

2. They keep you wrapped up in the idea that other people, or the world at large, owe you a solution for this, and that you can get to it by convincing yourself or someone else that this situation is a horrendous injustice that just shouldn’t be! (*sob*)

Both of these make the friction greater, and keep you from fixing the problem. They make your problems bigger and your capacity for solving them smaller."

This happens when we let our fears build up and we try to master them (see my previous blog post about fear love and ego):

If you think of problems solely as properties of the outside world (and not as the relationship between you and your circumstances), then in order to take care of it you have to find a way to control the circumstances around you until they become different enough that they don’t bother you any more.

This is the conventional mentality human beings use for dealing with problems, and there’s a better way. Constantly trying to manhandle circumstances to suit your preferences takes an enormous amount of energy and resources and is often impossible, unless you have trillions of dollars. Not all of us are spoiled princesses, though you always have the right to act like one if you choose.

And I think in the fable the princess was lucky that someone invented a good solution to her problem. Most of the time there might not be someone we can talk to and who can invent a good solution. (Or perhaps we are not talking to the right people?) If no one had invented the right solution, the princess would probably have decided not to go out anymore and spend all her life in the King's castle and deprive herself of the joy of "wandering about her father’s vast kingdom".

So when we face a problem let's remember this:

When she was finally able to carry with her a remedy for the problems that sometimes occur at these points of contact, she found three things:

1. That the problem (and consequently its solution) is much smaller than it appears at first

2. That the remedy is something she can carry with her and apply everywhere

3. That the resolution of the problem has little to do with the details of the thing she runs afoul of, and everything to do with how she engages it on her end

And this:

Friction, when we’re talking about running afoul of circumstances, is determined by the quality of your state of mind when something undesirable happens. The worse your state of mind, the greater the friction, the bigger the problem and the more it takes from you before you’re through with it.

The second blog post is Use the Try Harder, Luke. It is also about how we react to obstacles. As with the above article, you should probably read it now, otherwise what follows may really spoil you ;-) Really! The end of the story is very funny, so if you want to enjoy it fully, you should probably read the blog post right now.

Anyway here it is:

Mark: "The audience isn't going to buy it."

George: "Trust me, they will."

Mark: "They're going to get up and walk out of the theater."

George: "They're going to sit there and nod along and not notice anything out of the ordinary. Look, you don't understand human nature. People wouldn't try for five minutes before giving up if the fate of humanity were at stake."

Of course George Lucas is right :-) People will usually find themselves many reasons to not try enough.

And what about you? How small an obstacle needs to be to prevent you from following your dream? Are you sure the obstacle is as big as you say? Is there really a good reason for you to be so afraid of it? Are you sure you did not make your fears so big? Why don't you try another way than trying to master fear? Is there not a way based on love?