Soul Topics

The Death-Ground Strategy

The comfort zone is something that makes a lot of us settle for much less than our potential could actually take us. The comfortable life is the anti-progressive one. The irony is, it is something we seek; stability and comfort are highly prized. But, is it worth it?

I would argue that it is not. Comfort is an ugly breeding ground where stagnation ensues and growth halts. Before we realise it, our spirits would become dampened, restless. Negative habits develop, and life plummets before our eyes. We are on a ship that gradually sinks. And getting out of it is not a simple matter, because the comfortable life – if we have gained it – would be anchored by our personal successes, career successes, our identities, friends and family: all that we are too afraid to lose. A life built for comfort is a major complex hell of a trap.

That is not to say that we should not nourish ourselves. Of course we should. But comfort is an unnecessary luxury. How do we break out of it? One way is to psych ourselves up for success. But this requires tremendous discipline, and our human psychology and inherent tendencies to seek comfort could slow us down.

But there is another more immediate, effective approach to shake our lives up. Robert Greene, in his book The 33 Strategies of War, calls this the Death-Ground Strategy.

Place yourself on ‘death ground’, where your back is against the wall and you have to fight like hell to get out alive.

You basically need to place yourself in a swim or sink situation, or where you have a dog chasing your ass. It is throwing yourself out into the deep end, and in such an environment there could be no turning back, no excuses you could conjure up. You do not have to psyche yourself, and mental indecisiveness and the nagging questions of discipline all go out of the window. It is either you die, or you succeed. As Greene writes, ‘leaving the past for unknown terrain is like a death–and feeling this finality will snap you back to life’.

This could manifests in several ways. It depends on what you want to achieve. To let unresourceful habits die, you need to realise where their breeding grounds are; if it is your home, you could pack up all of your belongings and go live in your car. You could quit your job to devote 100% focus into your business. You could take up a leadership position that you could not easily back out of, so that you are forced to grow beyond who you currently are. It is a counter-intuitive approach to life, where in this case, you eliminate any back-up plans. Then, your body, mind and spirit is forced into action, kicking into higher gear, and you would have intensity and purpose you once never had.

Soul Topics

Seeking Medicine: Healing for All

Medicine, broadly defined, is a catalyst for healing our imperfect selves. To live, and witness the conflicts and struggles of our world are painful things, notwithstanding whatever beauty we might individually perceive.

Medicine could come in a variety of forms such as books, nature, mentorship, guidance from God, or simply through words from a friend. Medicine may come when one least expects it, and it is the least blind who shall perceive it, and the open ones who will receive it.

The Essentiality of Medicine

The recognition for the essentiality of medicine involves an acknowledgement of the gap between oneself and one’s highest potential, as well as a yearning of some kind.

a) Potential: Our Acknowledgement of the Gap

First, the acknowledgement of potential. Do not allow the currents of life to sweep you along, such that you become a mere follower, just another droplet in the vast Ocean, with no grounding whatsoever to who you authentically are. We must constantly strive to detach ourselves from the chaos of everyday life, to objectively reassess our situation, and retain a clear and accurate view of where we are on our path, and the direction we want to be headed.

b) The Manifestation of Intense Yearning

Second, to see medicine as essential involves a yearning of some kind. For some, it could be a drive toward self-improvement. For others, to get past an obstacle. For the rest, perhaps, the search for truth and meaning.

The extent of such yearning matters. Nothing could be attained in life without a measure of intensity. This intense yearning, shall manifest itself as some form of focused action-taking toward the possibility one aspires to become. We could yearn all we want, but if we do not concentrate such energy into a strategic way of living that involves concrete actions undertaken consistently, betterment will not come forth.

The divine will be born in you according to the intensity with which you seek it. – Osho

The Rejection of Medicine

The rejection of medicine is a violence against the soul. It is the neglect of personal needs.

To live and continually reject medicine, the heart and mind is closed, for a number of reasons
(1) Societal conditioning: Ingrained beliefs that we do not question, such as the pursuit of wealth, popularity and status – that might come at the expense of other intangibles, such as the development of our health and relationships
(2) Comfort Zone: Comfort dulls the mind, while possibilities lie in growth and the unknown.
(3) Being stuck in the past: Negative beliefs from past events run our subconscious, so much so that we could not see the light of our present or future.

What limits individuals as well as nations is the inability to confront reality, to see things for what they are. As we grow older, we become more rooted in the past. Habit takes over. Something that has worked for us before becomes a doctrine, a shell to protect us from reality. – Robert Greene

How might we be more receptive, then?

When Your Medicine Comes, Receive It

Medicine is more readily available and abundant than we think, if we choose to perceive it. Surely, you would have seen a smile today, even if it wasn’t offered to you. You could wake up to the majestic sky, not matter how bitter your circumstances are.

To be receptive to this abundant gift of healing is to make a conscious choice to see goodness in this world which will cause the opening and nourishment of the heart. Truly, the worries and constant battles that engage our mind are not substantial and shall pass, whereas existence is incomprehensibly larger and truly magnificent.

It is also to recognise and let go of the societal conditioning of the mind and false beliefs that only cripple us, so that we may be open to new perspectives, insights and love from places we might not expect.

Furthermore, to give is to receive. Giving starts the receiving process coming your way from unknown resources and places – back it comes around to you [it is one of the unique mysteries of life; it is better to give than to receive]. – Jim Rohn