Fainting Goats

“Stress comes from making something more important than it is. Failure comes from making something not as important as it actually is.”

- Unknown

The human, the fainting goat, and the monk. 

I was recently reminded of the hilarious reality that there are Fainting Goats in the world. (Do yourself a favor and Google it, the videos on YouTube are the funniest things you’ll see today!) When stressed or frightened they go completely stiff — even in midstride — and fall flat for a few seconds. It’s a defense mechanism to save their tails in case they are chased by a preditor.

As humans, our biology has not evolved at the pace of our society. Without training and awareness, when stress arises, our body goes on autopilot and we lose our ability to be effective. We spin and flail and take massive action — but that doesn’t mean it’s the right action for a given situation. 

The monk is always alert and able to act with precision. The monk chooses not to spin and swirl with inefficient, ineffective actions that look like they’re solving a problem but are in fact just extraneous movement and nothing more. 

While the fainting goat is immobilized and disassociated, the monk is calm, alert, taking slow deliberate action.

I hear high performers fear “losing my edge”. They eschew meditation and other awareness practices out of a fear that they’ll just lose their performance abilities in business.

It is my observation that they are conflating calm with inaction. 

That is not the case.  

Calm allows the mind to clear, to not reach a state of overwhelm and inaction.  

Important situations arise and call for full access to all of our faculties not allowing our biology to override our ability to act or a ‘spiritual bypass’ that removes our responsibility to act.

Our responsibility is to master our mind and discern; overaction or inaction from precise and efficient action.