The Stockdale Paradox

Just saw this linked from Daring Fireball:

The Stockdale Paradox

Jim Collins, quoting a conversation with Admiral Jim Stockdale, who spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison:

He said, “Well, you have to understand, it was never depressing. Because despite all those circumstances, I never ever wavered in my absolute faith that not only would I prevail — get out of this — but I would also prevail by turning it into the defining event of my life that would make me a stronger and better person. Not only that, Jim, you realize I’m the lucky one.”

I said, “No, I don’t.”

He said, “Yes, because I know the answer to how I would do, and you never will.”

A little later in the conversation, after I’d absorbed that and said nothing for about five minutes because I was just stunned, I asked him who didn’t make it out of those systemic circumstances as well as he had.

He said, “Oh, it’s easy. I can tell you who didn’t make it out. It was the optimists.”

A lesson for our current moment.

It applies to so, so many things.

The people driving themselves nuts because they feel cooped up inside. Whereas I set myself the expectation that this COVID would go on for months and months and months - best case scenario. I get accused of being a pessimist but I’m not. I suspect if enough of us put the COVIDIOTS in their place we will prevail. I have no expectation that saner heads will prevail. Look only at how some democratic elections turn out. One entirely possible outcome is that the COVIDIOTS would ruin it all, infect and kill the people I love, and bring forth the collapse of our civilization.

My only goal: don’t be a COVIDIOT. Keep social distancing. Follow the advice of our very qualified healthcare providers. Don’t make up my own belief system. Ride this out. Help if I can.

And somehow that seems to apply to TextBlade too. Have zero expectations of when it will arrive. Don’t bother/pester/imagine/invent deadlines or do anything of that sort. Why blow energy on that? There are far more pressing needs.

Yet I also know that WayTools will make it. It exists, it needs refinement, and the right people for that are doing that. So it is inevitable.

Unless the COVIDIOTS dismantle our civilization first, and infect the WayTools team. But would we also not have bigger things to worry about?

Stay home, stay safe everyone!

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