The "No lose" model

I had bought the book Feel the fear and do it anyways many years back and never got to reading it until recently. Expecting it to be a cliched set of paragraphs and chapters around dealing with our fears I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading. I especially fell in love with the "No lose" model. I liked the sound of not losing anything a lot. :) I read it again and again.

It starts with describing first what we all follow mostly in our lives- which is the "No win'' model and then gives another better way- the "No lose" model. I'm re-quoting some of the text here-

No win Model:
Suppose you are at a Choice point in your life. Your heart feels heavy about the choice you have to make. You feel somehwat paralyzed as you think about the consequences in life-and-death terms. You stand at the threshold of the decision, lamenting and obsessing: "Should I do this or should I do that? What if I go this way and that happens? what if it doesnt work out of the way I plan? What if?"... You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible...

No lose model:
Go back and stand at the choice point again. This time the situation looks like this: Notice what lies ahead are simply two paths- A and B- both of which are right!! Each path has nothing but "goodies" along the way. You are clearly facing a no-lose situation. What are these "goodies"? Opportunities to experience life in a new way, to learn and grow... Each path is strewn with opportunities despite the outcome.
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The book then inspires us to jump into the "no lose" model right away the next time we face a choice point in life- educating ourselves well with how real our fears truly are. "Do your homework" it says. The only issue with trying to put this into practice is- we have to deal with ourselves :). Do we want that pain and misery? Do we have the courage? I find the Ted talk Turning fear into fuel also a very inspiring guideline on doing the homework right and being realistic about our future thoughts knowing that we cannot be shining Buddhas right away and eliminating negative, unwholesome or unrealistic thoughts are going to take some time, effort and practice.

I am also reminded of this quote from Running from safety by Richard Bach-
“It must happen to us all…We pack up what we’ve learned so far and leave the familiar behind. No fun, that shearing separation, but somewhere within, we must dimly know that saying goodbye to safety brings the only security we’ll ever know.”

I think that even though we may know ourselves well, we are still always discovering the "depths", "intensities" and "contours" of our nature only as life unravels. When we see ourselves in situations- why we laugh, how we like, how we cling, what we cling to, how we justify it and then how we cry when we don't get something- is part and the whole of us. Self-protection or even the concept of it is such a huge driver in our lives- protection of those we need or protection of our own selves- both of which are only veils over the reality that the only protection we seek is from our own weaknesses arising and pulling us down. No one else is making us insecure. No one else is harming us. Only we are doing it to ourselves.

I hope we can find liberation in -being open and vulnerable even though it comes at an excruciating cost of misjudgements, mistreatment or biases from faulty perceptions by others time and again (we doing the same to others at other times), in having faith in karma knowing that the universe is watching every moment of our doings, surrendering fully to the process of accepting whatever comes along as we stick to these values believing strongly that even though it may seem like we are losing- we are not losing. Self protection is actually a necessary part of our well-being but what we need to watch out for is our obsession for it. What we do under the garb of self protection - when we run to choose fear over trust did we even check if there was reason for fear?

May we all find the courage to accept our weaknesses, our inherent brokenness and ordinariness while still seeing the preciousness in it- respecting ourselves and others beyond and despite everything. In a way the "No lose" model is also a "No win" model because it takes us to a place beyond winning and losing. It all depends on how we see it.