Black Swan

The Black Swan (In Progress)

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I once received another piece of life-changing advice, which unlike the advice I got from a friend in Chapter 3, I find applicable, wise, and empirically valid. My classmate in Paris, the novelist-to-be Jean-Oliver Tedesco, pronounced, as he prevented me from running to catch a subway, “I don’t run for trains.”

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Snub your destiny. I have taught myself to resist running to keep on schedule. This may seem a very small piece of advice, but it registered. In refusing to run to catch trains, I have felt the true value of elegance and aesthetics in behavior, a sense of being in control of my time, my schedule, and my life. Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.

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You stand above the rat race and the pecking order, not outside of it, if you do so by choice. Quitting a high-paying position, if it is your decision, will seem a better payoff than the utility of the money involved (this may seem crazy, but I’ve tried it and it works). This is the first step toward the stoic’s throwing a four-letter word at fate. You have far more control over your life if you decide on your criterion by yourself.

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Mother nature has given us some defense mechanisms: as in Aesop’s fable, one of these is our ability to consider that the grapes we cannot (or did not) reach are sour. But an aggressively stoic prior disdain and rejection of the grapes is even more rewarding. Be aggressive; be the one to resign, if you have the guts. It is more difficult to be a loser in a game you set up yourself