“When all around is chaos, when everyone is driven to the brink of insanity … relax.”

“In six days — less than a week — the world turned upside down. San Francisco became a war zone. Do you know what people do when you tell them they no longer have rights? That an individual is powerless? They fight. It was ludicrous to think mankind would just roll on its back and comply. I saw my neighbors — people I’ve known for years — become bloodthirsty savages. Infected, uninfected, it didn’t matter. We were all driven mad. The survival instinct went ballistic. Food, guns, medicine, blood — it all became priceless. Worth killing for. Those who had became the targets of the had nots. A city of five million people. Within a month more than half were dead. Six weeks later, about ten thousand like me. AB Negatives. We were all determined to live. But we didn’t gather together. There was no unity. It was every man for himself. Trust had been abolished. By the end of the year, it was me. Just me.”
“How? How did you do it?”
“I remained calm. It’s the great secret of survival. When all around is chaos, when everyone is driven to the brink of insanity … relax.”
Neville and Anna in “I Am Legend” (Movie Script)

In one of the workshops I participated last week, the trainer distributed a list of rebuttals to … well, some kind of internal “hurriers” people have. You know, the internal voices that tell you to:

  1. be perfect,
  2. hurry up,
  3. apply yourself,
  4. please everybody, or
  5. be strong.

While the trainer stressed that these rebuttal sentences have to fit the individual — otherwise they stop at the neck but you don’t feel their effects — the provided rebuttal sentences were pretty weak. Not even postcard level. Kindergarten level more likely.

However, on the plus side, I noticed that I use other — for me: better — sentences to counter these “hurriers”.

I love quotations and I collect them whenever I stumble upon good ones. I use them to regulate myself. One of the reasons why I prefer to digitize paper books — you can easily highlight and export quotations in a way you cannot do with ePub books. I also have a very good memory for scenes from movies.

So, while I consider the sentences provided by the trainer as childish and ‘beneath me’, I use others to keep these “hurriers” in check. For example, when I feel stressed and become in danger of hurrying up beyond the point where increasing activity and speed is conductive to achieving my goals, I remember, among others, the quotation at the beginning of this posting.

Because in one aspect, the trainer was dead on in my opinion. If you want to prevent going beyond the level that is conductive to achieving your goals, you need something that resonates with(in) you to stop these tendencies. For me it’s specific quotations like the one above.

What is it for you?