Since I joined the rank of rats, I’m much more relaxed.
It came about after reading a book called ‘Who Stole My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson. He pointed out the difference between rats and humans was that when rats discovered something wasn’t working they tried something else and didn’t give up. When humans found something wasn’t working, they looked for something or someone to blame.
Numerous times in my human condition I rammed myself at a wall, determined to break it down if it killed me. These days I take a softer approach. If I’m passionate about something I don’t give up but I don’t make myself ill over it. I think about the man who decided to eat an aeroplane to prove it could be done and chopped it into bits until he’d achieved it.
I no longer feel I’ve failed because I haven’t found the key to fit the lock. I think of Thomas Edison. After his 700th attempt to create the electric light bulb, he was approached by a journalist of the New York Times.
‘So how does it feel to have failed so many times?’ he was asked.
Eddison replied ‘I haven’t failed once. I’ve just proved those 700 ways don’t work.’
Now, when I find myself writing the same chapter umpteen times (and throwing it in the trash), I tell myself each attempt is bringing me closer to the final version.
I’ve stopped banging my head against the wall in desperation. I’ve stopped blaming myself when I can’t get a handle on something. I’ve stopped blaming others when things go awry. As a rat, I get on with life without analysing the ‘becauses’. This I was helped with by my teacher in India. When I asked him why something I’d strived for so hard had crumbled to ash, he said ‘Because’.
‘Because of what?’ I asked.
‘Who knows,’ he said. ‘Don’t waste your life dwelling on it. Move on.’
So I took his advice. I know I can’t win them all but walls no longer thwart me.
Rats always find a way round without stressing out when they can’t get through – and with practice, I’m slowly getting the hang of it.
Jaylen Grace is the author of Omzak The Space Cat Warrior, Porridge The Two Faced Parrot and Omtopia (The 7 steps to enlightenment). She also writes under her own name (Stella Ralfini) for adult content books ie lovemaking manual Three Faces of Sex @jaylengrace @stellaralfini