Day #266:Are You a Kitten or a Monkey?

In the book The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?,  Seth Godin examines the question of believing we are helpless and dependent on the system , on other people, the economy and external influences that shape our choices. And we accept that if we don’t get selected, given the job or get approval from some higher authority to do something remarkable, we may never step out. We have big dreams of what we want to contribute to the world but the economy is just bad and there is nothing we can do about it. We are scared to step out.

Rightfully so,stepping out and doing something bold is hard. It is scary. We face possibilities of shame,failure and ridicule from our friends and families if things don’t work out. I know this because it happens to me also.

Seth uses the Japanese terms of Tariki and Jiriki to illustrate how the Kitten and the baby Monkey react to different situations.

A Kitten depends on his mother to get him out of trouble whenever he gets into trouble. The baby Monkey on the other hand has no choice but to grab onto the back of his mother if he wants to make an escape.

‘One is rescued;the other rescues himself’ he says.

In Japanese, tariki is the name for choosing to be helped,seeking a higher authority to select you, move you forward, and endorse you. Tariki is the helpless kitten. Jiriki, alternatively, is self- selection, self authorized art. Jiriki is the monkey who saves himself.

To overcome ‘the resistance‘ and get out of our own way, we need to act more and think less.We owe it to ourselves and to the world to be like the baby monkey and save ourselves. Step out and bring something into the world.

Steven Pressfield puts it like this:

By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

Don’t think. Act.

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