Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #35: Secretly Cooperate

PLAY: Secretly Cooperate
[I apologize once again for the delay in postings. A family emergency took precedence, and may do so again. Thanks for the patience.—Drew]

Yesterday, I was out riding my bicycle, when a traffic light turned red. I stopped, grumbling about the law, but obeying it, even though no cars were coming. Really, though, I was catching my breath and appreciating a break from pedaling.

Your problem is your adversary, in a game that threatens its very existence. You draw energy from this competition, while secretly you cooperate with the problem by working with it instead of against it. Resistance is futile!

In stage combat, actors appear to be fighting, while in reality they are working together to provide a convincing illusion of dramatic conflict. In this way, no one gets hurt while the visual language of the choreography speaks with poetic metaphor.

A game of tag is less fun if we stand there and I tag you, then you immediately tag me, then I tag you again, and so on. Or else I'm it, and I never tag you because you're too fast and too far away. We play together to keep the game going.

A child may tease the person they have a crush on. Someone, when not just being a jerk, may play devil's advocate to strengthen someone else's position. A sailor takes his sailboat on a zig-zag course to go against the wind, using the power of the wind. It looks like they seek a win-lose situation, when it's actually win-win.

A tai-chi master absorbs the impact of his or her opponent to softly neutralize the energy of the attack, redirect it, and exhaust it. Injury only comes from tense resisting.

In the same way, you incorporate the given circumstances of a problem into the solution, instead of trying to eliminate them. For example, you may have the problem of always losing your keys. Next time you come home, you consciously lose them under a pile of dirty laundry, and with that absurd act, you are more likely to remember where you put them the next day.

Think: How can I secretly cooperate with my problem? What if I appeared to be fighting it while actually playing with it to win-win?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #36: Fool Around

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