If you’ve never juggled before, giving it a go for the first time whilst using chainsaws bodes ill. In cases like this, doing something just once is enough to give you the empirical evidence to know better. In life, more often that not, doing something more than once is what affords us the perspective to test and retest hypotheses that follow experiences. We are able to make comparisons that help inform future situations that in some way mirror the things we’ve done before.
But what if you’re stuck with once? With only one experience and nothing else to compare it to from your own life. Where do you go from there? It’s typical to look to the experience of others in order to draw comparisons. However, it’s impossible to accurately assess how you would actually experience the situation. The reason is because it’s not just one variable that informs experience. It’s all your unique prior experiences that shape how you experience something new. We can benefit from emotional intelligence and empathetic understanding, but we are often still at the mercy of our own feelings…even when we know better. We know that feeling bad about an outcome, won’t at all change the outcome. We know that we are in control of our choices, even when we feel stuck. Not even in an actual prison can someone be imprisoned if we are controlled by our reason choice. This is a stoic view. This view holds truth. We can accept this truth and yet still struggle to get past our own emotional walls. Walls of our own construction. Walls that are fortified with barbed wire from painful experiences past that we fool ourselves into believing are built for own protection, to protect us from external harm, when, like prisons, they are designed to keep us in.
Once. Once provides us with enough rope to scale any wall of our own design. Once provides us with enough rope to pull ourselves up from the lowest depths, because it’s impossible to fall any deeper into anything than what we already know.