Reinvent Yourself and Live Beyond Tragedy.


Things aren’t as tragic as we make them sound. It all depends upon our sense of life. Unless we sound this, we exist in a state of terror about possibilities.

Then we imagine the worst amid every burst of circumstances.

For some people, job loss looms, actually or imaginatively; for others, retirement assumes suffocating significance. Many are hyperactive (and hypochondriac), sensing in every pain the wane of good health. The former fear being still lest they fail their dreams. They seldom consider the power of stillness and how it heals us when we make time to be healed.

In doing so, it shows us the field wherein we can prosper according to our passion and talent. They are bullied instead by a sense of inadequacy, which indicts their actions and inflates questions of their competence. These taunts tear until confronted.

Yet something about the human spirit refuses to be taunted indefinitely by the threat of tragedy, whether real or imaginary. It will endure indefatigably in maintaining its dignity.

A sense of dignity is essential to a sense of destiny. Without this support, fear of tragedy extorts us daily, often unconsciously. Then we take caution (and precaution) beyond rational bounds and common sense. Hence the birth of superstition.

Superstition seeks to appease our sense of helplessness before imaginary tragedies. Superstition resembles the sacrifices our ancestors made to gods to appease their anger and to gain their favor. We behave likewise until we go beyond tragedy.

Going beyond tragedy means accepting risk (and ruin) as realities. Doing so doesn’t mean we will be ruined, but it does mean that the reality is present simply because we are embedded in life, love and relationships.

We don’t, however, have to predict ruin with each turn of circumstances. Our heart doesn’t have to drop when the boss knocks on our door with a stern look and a stoic stance that suggests trouble. Neither is a breakup the worst thing that can happen to us, though we feel so routinely.

Yet how much of our love launches (and delays) from insecurity? How much of our lives do we forfeit because of a surfeit of fear? How readily do we label worst what is often a chance to reinvent ourselves?

That’s what we don’t see when trouble seizes and tragedy severs others from us, and us from ourselves. Hence our tendency to mourn insensibly. “How,” we ask, “can fate deal so cruelly?” Our question reveals the illusion that makes death tragic, and us rabid in inflating loss and fearing life. We behave, in fact, as if these aren’t inevitable. Else we would be more available to ourselves and the lives we imagine.

We seldom see living contrarily as tragic. Instead, precaution becomes deception, and caution signals denial of our vulnerability. An excessive sense of vulnerability denies our resilience; it also delays our optimism because, even among the worst, we thirst for life. This thirst sustains when tragedy claims us as its own.

We don’t know this, however, until our time comes. Then we experience serenely what deals meanly with us. The fact that we scream and squirm doesn’t infirm our essence. If we knew this in advance, neither Fate nor Chance would chasten so. Neither would our bucket lists beguile though we compile them daily. We would live instead beyond tragedy.


joelbryantA former corporate trainer and university lecturer, Dr. Joel Bryant is an avid reader, writer, speaker, thinker and dreamer. He is also the author of over 40 books on various topics, each exploring themes of change, growth and greatness. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Charlotte, where he spent five years lecturing in the Philosophy Department. He resides in Charlotte, NC.


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