Non-Career Advice: Alex Feder.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Name: Alex Feder / Musician 
Also: Songwriter / traveler / tripper of the light fantastic

Avoid the second arrow. "Possibly the most profound thing I've learned since moving from New York to LA — where I'm becoming a total cheeseball Angeleno — is a tenet within Buddhism that's referred to as the "second arrow." 

I'll explain it like this: often, life shoots us with a painful 'arrow' — not necessarily an enormous tragedy, but some littler nuisance that can lead to a bad day. Let's say you're working from home and there's a dog barking all day long next door. The dog, in this case, is that arrow. But the thing is, no matter how annoyed you are, the dog is still going to bark. No amount of rage or frustration is going to change that. And the more we let our negative feelings overwhelm us, the worse our day becomes. This negative reaction is essentially like shooting ourselves with a second arrow, and it's often more painful than the first.

The first arrow might have been out of our control, but the second is ours to dodge. Dogs bark. People are rude. Commutes get delayed. It's important to realize that while we often can't change those things, we can be mindful of our reactions to them. If we stop dwelling on anger, or how much we wish things were different, then we are able to prevent one arrow wound from turning into two. And life goes on."

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Thanks so much, Alex! More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.  Photo by Brian Michael Henderson.

17 comments:

Selene said...

Perfect advice for today. Thank you!

Tori's Tales said...

Goodness me, that is quite some advice, and something I am definitely going to work on!!

Natalie said...

Great advice, there are always small annoyances and it's easy to let them get to us. Even this morning, the woman sitting next to me on the train kept falling asleep on my shoulder! I was so irritated, then I thought this woman must really be exhausted! I scooted forward a bit so that she would stop bumping into me hah.

cary said...

Good one!I will remember this.

fletcher said...

one of my favorites in this series (which is one of my favorites). thank you, alex!

max said...

wow. awesome.

boygirlparty said...

re: second arrow. beautifully said, but also one of the hardest things to do in life. there is so much we cannot change that we can't help but react to. and what about the things that only reaction *will* change? such as the mindsets that share our planet, responsible for today's tragedies?

Kathy said...

The best thing I've read today. Tucking this away for the next arrow that comes my way.

margs said...

Wonderful advice. I've never heard of the second arrow, but it's a great reminder that very few things are worth ruining your day!

Anonymous said...

one of my favorites so far!

sw said...

This concept will stick with me for a long time. Love it!

Rachel said...

And after the second arrow, in my experience, comes the third, and the forth and the fifth. The road to a downward spiral is a very easy one to take. This is excellent advice - it's a concept I've heard of before, but putting it in such visual terms is wonderful. Really enjoying this series, Shoko =]

Shoko said...

To Alex and to all, thank you so much for such lovely words!

Hena Tayeb said...

that is good advice but still so often so hard to follow.. i have been letting that second arrow strike me far to often these days

burntfeather said...

I love that I'm going to have a visual reference now of a second arrow in my side when I get angry at life - love this so much :) Thanks Alex and Shoko!!

rachael said...

Shoko,

I thought of this advice all day yesterday while I was schlepping the endless contents of my studio back to my house. but honestly, i couldn't stop shooting myself. i find it hard to stop and take stock and breathe, but rather i try to just get things sorted out as soon as possible, no matter what. i'm trying better today, though. back to square one with all my vintage stock taking over every inch of my house, like last year. well, i'm sitting with my breakfast right now and chilling out, so maybe i'm learning.

Shoko said...

Rachael, all you can do is aim for better next time, right? Much respect for trying your best and for being so self-aware. Sounds like you're doing great to me!

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