I was always moved by a particular line in The Godfather: “Mister Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.”
The line stuck out to me because it was so clearly the opposite of my natural tendencies. I always tried to move away from unpleasant realities. When I started to worry about money, for example, I avoided looking at my bank balance. When one of my friends was mad at me, I would avoid talking to them.
This is an almost perfectly terrible life strategy. Virtually every personal victory I’ve had amounted to doing exactly the opposite—finally confronting some reality, or some experience, that I had historically avoided. Monsters grow in the dark, so if you like your monsters small and manageable, you probably want to go and meet them at your earliest convenience.
The story arc of my adult life has essentially been a long process of learning and accepting that fact. A few weeks ago my friend Hélène taught me something that brought this principle to a new level of clarity. Her suggestion not only destroyed a specific problem I was having, but also seems to be a master key to all sorts of long-standing problems in other areas of my life. Read More