From here on

Jun 13, 2010 by

From here on

When do you bolt?

It’s a good question.  A question that Geneen Roth poses in her book Women Food and God. At what point do you leave a new path and go running full force screaming at the top your lungs back to where you started?

This has been a topic of conversation across many friends and concerning many subjects lately.  Seth Godin tries to tackle this topic in his book the dip, but it is so complicated that he just scratches the surface.

There are really two questions here:
1.) When DO you bolt back to the safety of your old behaviors?
2.) When SHOULD you bolt because it is the most prudent thing to do?

I’ve seen so many people bolt because they are scared (question 1), that I’m amazed anyone makes it through to the other side at all.  So when do they bolt?  When do they say (as in the Matrix), give me the blue pill and put me back into the fallacy of it all?  From what I’ve seen,

people bolt when they reach the point of no return

Read that again.  And think about it.  When you have almost seen, understood, experienced, eaten so much that one more bite and you can’t return to the safety of your past … that’s when most people stop and run backwards.  Because once you’re changed.  Once you’ve seen, truly seen, the world in a different light, you have to let go of your past, let go of your beliefs, let go of your support network, and leap to a new level.  And that’s precisely when it is the most terrifying, when there is no way to go back into the fallacy of it all.

So we know when we typically DO bolt (at the point of no return); when SHOULD we bolt?  That’s part of Seth’s book.  When do we push through the toughest part of the day and keep moving — the dip — and when should we quit.  I think I’ve found a good metric.

When the story no longer rings true, you’re done.

If you still believe the fundamentals, when you still believe the foundation, when you still can articulate why the story is believable, then you stay and work through the rough parts.  But the moment you can’t suspend disbelief any more … then the story is over … the credits have rolled and it’s time to turn the page.

So here’s my question: “What triggers you to bolt when you should stay?” and “What forces you to stay when the story is over?” Tough questions to answer truthfully, but if you can even look at the questions without feeling queasy, and then answer them for a moment, maybe you’ll stay when you feel like leaving, and leave when you feel like staying.  Maybe you’ll be able to overcome your biology and truly see a different path.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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