When I was nineteen years old I took my youngest brother out rowing on a nearby boating lake. He was only six years old and as I paddled us both across the shallow water he became quite nervous.
I stopped and explained that because this was the first time he’d ever been in a boat, the rocking was completely different from anything he’d ever experienced before. But actually there was no real danger: the boat wasn’t tipping over in the way he was afraid it might. And even if we did fall in, the water was so shallow we could easily walk to the shore. Who knows, once he got used to it, bobbing around in a boat might even be fun!!
These times of churning that we are living through are a bit like this: many of the situations we face are unlike anything we have known before. And although the news can bring us scary stories each day, there is usually no immediate danger to most of us.
So if we find ourselves in a new and unexpected situation, our first task is simply to centre and ground ourselves — to stay calm despite the rocking of the ‘boat’.
And then, like Doctor Who, we can start to treat the challenges we face as opportunities for adventure. We can learn to handle whatever happens and to enjoy the process as we do so.
This is another step to becoming antifragile.
Have you ever worried about something that never actually happened or where the risk was very low even if it did? How would it have been if you had lived like Doctor Who instead and treated it as an adventure?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also need to do the practice.)