And… nothing can make you feel anything without your consent.
We’ve all seen it: Someone freaking out in public. They yell, scream or curse. Maybe they get physical and hit, push, shove or fight.
You watch. Then tell your friends about it later.
But what do you feel about it? Do you judge and condemn? Do you sympathize and feel sorry for the person? Maybe you just laugh and go about your day.
For me, I feel sorry for the weakness and ignorance I see. I see a lack of control of feelings and thoughts and beliefs. I see a lack of self-awareness. I see the release of pent-up emotions that have probably been stewing for years.
And I feel sad that life is such for that person.
But that’s just me.
What about you?
Do you get angry in traffic? Do you talk about other people behind their back in a way that is mocking and judgmental? Do you get emotional when something doesn’t go your way? Do you get angry?
And most important of all: Do you know why?
You wanna know who I imagine when I think of the steely calm demeanor of a man in control of his emotions? I think of Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Watch Casino Royale when he is at the poker table after just being poisoned. That’s what flashes in my head as a prime example of the kind of control I want to have.
Imagine someone insults you to your face and you respond by getting angry and upset. Congratulations: You did exactly what they wanted. “You succumbed to their level,” as my Dad always used to say. When you do that, they have won no matter what the outcome ends up being. That’s a poor scenario if you ask me.
The way to beat an aggressor is to not respond (or sometimes, to respond with a smile).
The most powerful way to squash criticism and rumor is to remain silent. When you defend yourself, you add fuel to the fire.
The way to win in any confrontation is to not play the game at all. Walk away or ignore. Don’t succumb.
This is the Taoist way of action through inaction (wu wei). It is the way of the pacifist, and country to what many might think, it is not weak, it is actually a supreme form of power. Just look at what Gandhi did.
Find ways to act through inaction. Respond by not responding. If you respond the way your opponents are goading you into responding, they have won. Remain calm, cool and collected.
Be like James Bond after nearly dying from poison and say to your opponent, “Oh, I’m sorry… that last hand… it nearly killed me.”
That is power. That is winning through inaction.
Win Through Inaction.