June 21, 2004

Theory No. 2

All right, this is not going to be anything related to physics, or for that matter, anything related to science. It's just what I think works for me, and will probably not work for you. But here goes :
"If you want something, try to get it, without actually caring too much whether you succeed or not."

What I mean is you should work for what you want, but the moment you start obsessing about it or caring too much, you are doomed to fail. The Universe will royally screw you then and there. Of course if you put in no effort, you will fail; but if you put in too much effort, you will fail as well. There are no guarantees to success, but this works best for me. You can work hard if you like, but not too hard for anything. You should be able to stop, and let the events take their own due course.

You should be able to get distracted in life. Concentrating on a single thing never works for me. And I feel that my whole theory can be nicely understood if you understand the following, written by the great Douglas Adams:
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying. There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, it suggests, and try it."
“The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it’s going to hurt. That is, it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground."
“Most people fail to miss the ground and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard. Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties."
“One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It’s no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won’t. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you’re halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground or about how much it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss it."
“It is notoriously difficult to prize your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people’s failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport."
“If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phyllum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinity, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner."

1. From Douglas Adams: Life, the Universe and Everything, Chapter 9.
2. And I know I've been obsessing about Adams for a while, but his writing is so damn good. I swear, no more Adams posts for a while.

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