Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2014

Zero Points

“I wish I could start anew!” is an often-heard statement by the average types who feel that they have been caught in one of the common dead ends of existence, usually as a result of previous poor decisions. And mostly it is nothing more than the attempt to ask for another chance after they have screwed up things entirely. No wonder that second chances, if offered, lead them into the same dead ends as before. Thus, what they mean by “starting anew” is rather just being granted another attempt to try to succeed with the same methods, hoping that their luck will finally jump in and take care of things, as if some almighty external entity would direct the luck their way. Little wonder then that such “new chances” are usually doomed to fail in the same manner as their previous attempts. What they do is hardly ever putting things back to zero and start something new as the saying would suggest.

Few people ever dare to take that step forward and start all over again from zero and to enter a blank sheet constellation all on their own. Those who do or are forced to by external circumstances soon find that they have to rely solely on their own abilities and resources and are sometimes astonished to realize that they can accomplish much more than they would have expected. The comfort zones that they had made themselves at home in require little but sticking to the same old routines. A zero point however, provides a considerable challenge and testing ground for the skills and tactics you have acquired and thus makes an ideal environment to learn and grow. Being plunged in at the deep end inevitably forces you to adapt to the new environment rapidly.

In essence, a zero point in itself opens doors to considerable advantages by activating flexibility and the basic animal survival mechanisms that rest deep within our genetic heritage, unnoticed by the dulled types of routine-followers. The latter hardly ever experience the immediate effects, like the sharpened perception or the instinctual fight-or-flight reaction, that result from exposure to zero points like being all of a sudden confronted with an existential hazard. Yet, these situations are rare and zero points are certainly more likely to be encountered in the form of a new living situation that requires a high degree of adaptability.

But once thoroughly understood, it does not necessarily have to take place in such an overt manner as relocating to an entirely new environment with just a suitcase to benefit from it. There are various manifestations of such zero points, some rather hidden and subtle. Entering an entirely new field in the business world or a longstanding relationship breaking up could be examples. In the latter case, most people rush to cling to the next partner to instantly fill the gap. Then you usually hear them state how lucky they are that they do not have to be alone anymore. Personal progress derived from this form of zero point could be the impulse to prove how well you can do on your own first, taking full advantage of the benefits of independence. From that point, the strong individual crafts his own strategies of how to become more of the person that he wishes to be which thus evokes more zero points. And as more and more of the mental and emotional dead wood is thrown out, the way is free for even more profound personal growth. It quickly turns into a never-ending undertaking that can include any field you could possibly think of.

Yet, constant self-optimization is not just one of the short-lived trends of today’s zeitgeist, it runs like a golden thread through history and culture. The Shakespearean tradition of play-writing distinguished two different kinds of fictional characters, the flat and round ones. Very much like in the real world, the flat characters are easily understood and hence predictable, whereas the round types present complex and multi-faceted personalities that sometimes even appear to have contradictory traits at first glance. On closer inspection, these supposed contradictions often turn out as the ability to exceed the narrow confines of common conventions. In order to maximize his potential, the round character has to constantly strive to improve his many facets and skills like a sculptor obsessed with the idea of creating this one perfect piece of art. Like Shakespeare himself, he attempts to become an independent cosmos that knows no limits and is capable of re-inventing himself anytime. Sharpening your personality from different angles this way is the perfect approach to self-perfection, adding whatever facets you choose. And it is probably the closest you can get to the Renaissance ideal of the universal genius.

Most exceptional leading figures in history, culture, science or any other field of expertise one could think of stem from this tradition, as do the movers and shakers of the lesser travelled path in our days. Though often viewed as ahead of the times, they often also have a firm understanding of the wisdom of past civilizations and know perfectly well to maintain the balance. At its heart, these individuals have a natural disposition that fundamentally sets them apart from the herd of humanity and this is based on two major aspects. The first one is the drive to constantly move forward and expand their capacities by sustained learning through zero point after zero point. The second one consists in the ability to regard and analyze situations from a Third Side – perspective while resorting to previously learned lessons to build on authentic experience. This is how the true achievers conquer the ground between themselves and their goals. Starting anew by always picking new challenges is the constant mode of action.


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