Astronauts spend years training before they’re assigned to a space mission. Moreover, they train for a specific mission that takes between two and four years more.
They practice tricky, repetitive tasks as well as challenging ones to the point of exhaustion. They train the astronauts in one skill more that other: the art of not panicking.
It’s understandable. At 150 miles above Earth in a spaceship, panic is suicide.
Maybe you are not an astrounat, but you face challenging situations on a daily basis. Are you in control of your emotions?
Obstacles, writes Ryan Holiday, make us emotional, but the only way we’ll survive or overcome them is by keeping those emotions in check–if we can keep steady no matter how much external events may fluctuate.
A SKILL YOU CAN CULTIVATE
A boss’s nasty e-mail. An asshole lover. A friend’s accident. Bad news from your doctor.
1. When you worry, ask yourself, “What am I choosing to not see right now”?
As Gavin de Becker says, the threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust—and act on—our gut instincts. Ask yourself, “what important things you’re missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom”?
This is not a matter of pretending you don’t feel. You feel, but you domesticate your own emotions, as Nassim Taleb put it.
2. Observing Eye vs. Perceiving Eye.
A man who conquers himself is ready to take it on on the world. This is the thesis of Miyamoto Musashi. The sixteenth-century Samurai swordsman won countless fights against feared oponents in which he was swordless.
In the Book of Five Rings, he explains the difference between observing and perceiving. The perceiving eye is weak, he wrote; the observing eye is strong.
Musashi understood that the observing eye sees simply what it is there, sees events, clear of distractions, exagerations, and misperceptions. The perceiving eye sees more than what it is there, sees insurmountable obstacles or major setbacks or even just issues.
The former is helpful, the latter is not.