Quiet: The Power of Introverts

How to thrive in a world that can't stop talking.

How To Achieve Inner Peace

You can train yourself to cope with adversity.

Here's a really interesting idea from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron:

You can train yourself to cope with adversity by working with small grievances. When you get stuck with the middle seat on the airplane, for example, it's so tempting to devolve into a blue funk of frustration. It feels good to feel aggrieved.

Chodron calls this being "hooked." When you're hooked, it means that something evokes a response in you and you don't want to let it go. "Anger is like that for sure," says Chodron. "Prejudice is like that. Critical mindedness is like that....There's something delicious about finding fault with something. And that can include finding fault with one's self....It's the image of a fish and the hook and it has this juicy worm on it, and you know the consequences aren't going to be good. But you cannot resist."

In addition to the dreaded middle seat, here are three situations in which you can practice saying no to the juicy worm:

  • When you feel too hot or too cold
  • When you get a mosquito bite
  • When you don't get into the movie you'd hoped to see.

What do you think? How do you tend to handle life's middle seats? Do you find it easy or difficult to rise above daily grievances, and do you believe that this is connected to handling major adversity? 

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*The above comes from a Bill Moyers interview with Chodron, from Moyers' wonderful 2006 series on "Faith and Reason." 

Susan Cain is the author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, a popular blog and forthcoming book about introversion.

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