I love this one, as it was one of the first moments of true, everyday wisdom I ever received. I will forever be grateful to my dear friend, Giancarlo, for this nugget he nonchalantly dropped one day while we were talking about one of his ex-girlfriends. When I asked him why their relationship didn’t work out, he simply stated, “She was very violent towards me, and all my gentleness couldn’t help her. She’s going to have to find someone more violent than she is… before she decides to change.”
This little gem sat in my mind for decades, working its magic. I thought I’d give homage to it by trying to lay out its immense implications, because it’s taken me this long to unpack it. Today I feel that it implies that none of us really change until we meet someone worse than us in some given attribute, and only then do we see the true damage we cause by not changing. We rarely change because others tell us to, or tell us about the pain we caused them. No, we change because we feel the pain that we caused. We feel the pain and we ask for forgiveness. Call it karma, if you will. Anyway, here is the axiom in its practical form.
A ––> B ––> C ––> D ––> LIGHT
It rately works this way, which is what we would imagine, in which B pulls A, C pulls B, D pulls C:
But instead, it works this way, in which Z, the worst of all, enters and everyone moves up one step:
Z ––> A ––> B ––> C ––> D ––> LIGHT
Dead End Street
Think of it as you standing on a dead-end street. You live there, you know that any car that comes down the road will eventually have to turn around, so you try to be a nice person. You want to save them the trouble of going all the way down to the end of the street before they turn around. So you wave them down, tell them to roll down their window, then politely tell them that this is a dead-end road, that they should turn around.
But you get the opposite reaction of what you expect.
They don’t and won’t listen to you. They tell you to mind your own business. I know, I was that car a thousand times. If you had told me that, I would have happily told you to shove it.
So you learn to just let them keep going down the road, and learn to live in peace. They’ll find out by themselves, they’ll learn first-hand that the road is a dead-end, don’t you worry.
Yes, leave them be. That way, they may even wave to you as they pass by on the way out.