Looking for the road to Avoid
When you do something with the express intent of avoiding an outcome, you often end up sliding towards it.
Alice in Wonderland and the Wizards of Oz are greater sources of philosophy than any book on philosophy ever written. That kind of fiction has the ability to highlight the ridiculousness of the way we choose to live our lives.
In a similar vein, I often find that animated movies are an endless source of insight. One that I really really love is from the movie Kung Fu Panda -
One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it ~ Master Oogway
A popular Republican president of the United States was determined to win re-election. His plank was quite strong. He had even won California in his previous campaign. But doubts lingered in his mind. He wanted to know what the Democrats were up to and how he could ensure avoid defeat. He engaged in what we know today as the Watergate scandal.
Richard Nixon won 520 electoral seats in his re-election in 1972.
Electoral college votes for the presidential race of 1972
In hindsight, it would seem like he would have won the presidency even if he had not campaigned and slept the entire month of October at the White House.
Nixon wanted to avoid losing. In order to avoid losing he tried to infiltrate the DNC. That attempt at infiltration (which was unsuccessful) resulted in Watergate. He did not get any intelligence from the DNC. He won fair and square. But the mere fact that he had attempted to infiltrate forced his resignation.
One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it
The key word in the sentence above is ‘avoid’. When you head into any undertaking with the express intention of avoiding something, you are in a negative frame of mind. Negativity does not lead to positive outcomes.
Nixon did not seek to win, we sought to avoid defeat. There is a world of difference between the two. When you are seeking out something, you are constantly moving ahead. When you are looking to avoid something, you are constantly looking behind.
Have you ever driven a car constantly looking behind?
Are you trying to make a business work or avoid failure?
Are you trying to push your career forward or avoid sliding back?
Are you trying to learn something new or avoid forgetting what you have learnt?
Are you trying to make your investment succeed or plan for the worst? Where do you think Apple, Facebook or Airbnb would be if they were “planning for the worst” in 2008. Don’t take advice from those who made it big throwing darts.
I feel every recession in the world has been caused by economists and “thought leaders” sitting and talking about how to avoid recession. If they had shut up and not engaged in scaremongering, everything would have been just fine.