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The Stockdale Paradox

The Stockdale Paradox is one of the most inspirational quotes I have ever read. If you follow (or at least try to attempt) to follow this quote, believe me, you will be ready to deal with adversity no matter what the circumstances are, but more importantly, with a stable mindset.

Jim Stockdale

“You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.

AND at the same time…

You must confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Before I tell you how I interpret this quote, I want to give you some quick facts on the creator of this quote, Jim Stockdale.  Stockdale was a United States Military Officer who was held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War; Stockdale was also tortured more than twenty times by his captors during his time as a POW (Prisoner of War).

During his time in captivity, Stockdale explains how the prison mates with the most optimism were the ones who DID NOT survive:

“They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

 How unbelievable is that? You get physically beaten on a daily basis, yet once you lose the battle in your mind about surviving, you die, THE POWER OF THE MIND. The most impressive factor in this situation is Stockdale’s mindset, he never loses faith about survival, yet the one key and vital aspect he keeps is his REALITY.

He is truthful with himself, he does not set dates on rescue or anything like that, but instead he realized the situation he was in, while being honest with the fact that his current situation was horrible and uncertain.

Optimism is a double-edged sword. It is good to be optimistic about life, I consider myself an optimistic person, yet the one fatal flaw in an optimistic person is not being able to handle your current reality (which is why you are always looking FORWARD to something rather than focusing on the PRESENT), this is why I try to practice the Stockdale Paradox in my everyday life.

Now I am not saying don’t set goals for yourself, that is crucial to being successful in life in my opinion, but you must be honest with yourself in your current situation. Why lie to yourself? Don’t put yourself in a false reality in where you think you’re further along than you really are, deception will only lead you to defeat and failure in the end.

While looking for other resources for this blog, I found this quote that I just simply could not ignore and is 100% accurate:

“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens.” – Yvon Chouinard

 We all want to be successful in life, but we must confront our difficulties and truths that we face NOW. It is definitely not an easy task, and you may feel like you are taking a few steps back by admitting and confronting certain aspects of your life. However, look at it this way, before any jump forward, don’t you take one or two steps back to gain momentum to help with your jump?

Consider, admitting and confronting certain aspects of your life as your two steps back, before you take a huge leap forward with the way you think, and live your life.

#THEZAZENLIFEMOVEMENT

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About peteydeez
College Graduate from St. John's University with Bachelor Science Degree in Sport Management - Sports Enthusiast - Jets/Mets/Rangers/Knicks Fan

6 Responses to The Stockdale Paradox

  1. Steve Tanner says:

    Ditto to the above comments!

  2. phdinweed says:

    Nicely done, Pete.

  3. and this is a nice drop peter.

  4. TheTaoOfD says:

    solid drop man

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