I am currently reading 3 books from very different authors on very different topics BUT they all share an underlying theme. The books are:
- The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking (Oliver Burkeman)
- Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
- The Icarus Deception (Seth Godin)
While they are writing on very different topics, the underlying implications of all three books (in my mind) is that they all focus on uncertainty and how we should embrace it instead of fight it. As a side note, I don’ t think that I randomly selected these books to read but believe my reticular activating system was at work. I also did not read these one at a time but started them all simultaneously which is why I had this blinding flash of the obvious!
I won’t bore you with the machinations of my own feeble mind but will encourage you to wrap your own around the following statement from the epilogue in The Antidote...”There’s never any closure in an awe inspired life, only constant acceptance of the mysteries of life. We’re never allowed to know when this fantastic voyage might end…but that’s part of the life – disorienting chaos that makes this choice so thrillingly difficult”
Burkeman’s book is about the fallacy of positive thinking and speaks of the need for “openture” which is a concept developed by Paul Pearsall which is (more or less) the opposite of closure. This is also, in large part, the discussion in Antifragile but Taleb focuses on systems and things more than people. Godin applies it to us personally in the discussion of “art” that we each create (if we so choose).
Ultimately, the message is that we need to shrug off the need for control and closure and recognize that we while we can disturb the system we live and work in, we cannot control it. The ability to disturb systems and harness the energy to move things forward is a very different skill set and one we would all do well to develop.
Here’s to tossing the boulder in the pond and riding the tsunami that follows!