Saturday, February 7, 2015

An Interpretation of the Meaning of "Crisis"

Years ago my  tai chi teacher said these Chinese characters represent Crisis, the top character a symbol for Danger, the bottom character a symbol for Opportunity

Countering this interpretation as "inaccurate pseudo-profundity" is Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Adhering to what he describes as a realistic approach, Mair is concerned that "Adopting a feel-good attitude toward adversity... "lulls people into welcoming crises as unstable situations from which they can benefit."  

But Mair's rational approach is only one part of the human equation. Growing emotionally and spiritually from crisis is not the same as a "feel-good attitude" and certainly doesn't mean we should welcome traumatic circumstances. But difficult or life-threatening situations do provide an opening for growth.
Many people I've coached who've undergone bankruptcy, cancer, or divorce have said, though temporarily debilitating and fraught with fear and pain, the events stopped the treadmill they were on and forced them to look at what really matters in a relatively short lifetime.