As mentioned yesterday in the upcoming days I’ll be unpacking the four prisms: cautious, fearless, meta and practice. Which I thought can be useful angles to keep in mind when we engage with the world. I intuitively feel that they describe the purpose and openness level of any engagement. I’ll start with cautiousness and fearlessness, these two belong to the field of emotional response to the surrounding.
Once we encounter something our first natural reaction is to be careful and suspicious. This mechanism is easy to explain. New things make us alert as they are the carriers of new emotions. Either negative or positive, we don’t know yet how it will affect us, there is no guarantee that it will result in a pleasant experience so of course we try to stay away. But at the same time we feel that there is a potential to get something out of this novel situation that can bring us benefit. So this split response results is the two polar conditions: cautiousness and fearlessness. Both are taking into account prior experiences and future planing. The degree of sensitivity towards both states is unique to each individual. And every situation requires assessment after which the verdict upon which decision how to act is made. Both of these responses are important, they have regulatory function, help to find a balance and enable us to connect with an experience.
Surely we all know the feeling when it seems that there are two voices from within having a dialogue either to do something or not. One is trying to seduce us and the other keeps us away from undesirable consequences. Since recently these two angles became active tools to reflect upon my personal connections to the world. I managed playful with shifting from one perspective to another and noticed how my assessment of the situation changes. This shift can happen so quickly completely transforming the situation.
It is important to understand the function of both. There is no right or wrong response. Both are equally important. Being fearless has a better reputation, we tend to admire fearless people, glorifying the daring and outspoken expressions in others. But let us not be deceived by this fragmented vision, there is always cautiousness on the other side observing the fearless actions, waiting to come out and take the stage. Passing over the stage is the virtue of flexibility as the sign of the right relationship with yourself in relation to the world. Knowing when to fear and when to go in is a skill that allows to extract the most out of the situation.
Thinking about these two in terms of staying in one place (cautiousness) and moving around (fearlessness) made me think of the idea of having two modes of being: explorer and exploiter. When we are in the explorer mode, we move around actively open and looking for possibilities. Our mind is open and alert, we are hungry for new opportunities, searching for new insights fearlessly. This mode allows for broadening of the horizons and the expansion of personal borders. Once the right place to settle comes across, the explorer becomes an exploiter. The role and function shifts. More in-depth mining is happening, resources are being taken into account to make sure that all the possible value is extracted. When in this mode, we recharge, enrich and form ourselves. We are much more cautious and protective or our belongings and the source of wealth we exhaust. But of course there is a limit to every resource and we’ll have to find some fearlessness and move away.
Try to play with these two prisms and hold it in front of you when encounter a situation. Do you feel cautious? Or fearless? Somewhere in the middle? Wherever you are try shifting perspective and act the opposite you would normally do. See what happens.