Marty McFly can’t stand being called “chicken’!”
Just when Marty has overcome every obstacle, and he’s about to escape “back to the future,” someone says, “what’s the matter, McFly? Are you chicken?” If he would just walk away, he could go back to his normal life.
But he…just…can’t…walk away. Instead…
- He’s chased across a pond and get stuck on a hover board.
- He gets knocked unconscious by an opening door.
- He breaks the law and gets fired from his job.
- He endangers his girlfriend’s and his own life drag racing.
Every hero has a fatal flaw.
The fatal flaw is that weakness that threatens to undo all the hero’s good deeds. It’s tragic because it seems like the hero just can’t help him or herself from doing the same, self-destructive thing over and over.
- For Katniss Aberdeen and Harry Potter, it’s their desire to protect those they love, often at their own expense and peril.
- For Luke Skywalker, it’s his fear of his power and his desire to run away from his destiny to restore balance to the force.
- For Don Draper (and everyone else on Mad Men), it’s alcohol and seduction.
- For Marty McFly, it’s being called chicken!
We all have those little “triggers” – those things that set us off. And once we’re triggered, we’re no longer free. We lose touch with our center of wisdom, our ground. We are cut off from the higher, Divine Wisdom and the guidance of the Spirit that always lies within a hero’s heart.
And then we do dumb things.
Marty McFly is lucky. He has the benefit of time travel. He goes into the future and sees the consequences of his fatal flaw. Unfortunately for you, unless you know a Doc Brown, you can’t time travel (yet).
But what if you could identify your triggers now? And what if you could use that information to learn new ways of responding to those triggers? (Rather than just reacting to them.) You’ve probably heard that wise saying:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.– Original Source Unknown
That kind of self-knowledge would be a huge step in learning about how you make decisions that guide you on your hero’s journey. The Centering for Wisdom™ Assessment (CWA)provides just this kind of insight into where you get triggered.
Results of the Centering for Wisdom™ Assessment are graphed in four areas of awareness. These are potential triggers that can become the fatal flaw – your Achilles’ heel, if you will.
Let’s look at how our heroes might score on the CWA, and then see how Marty learns the art and skill of Centering for Wisdom™.
- Katniss Aberdeen and Harry Potter score high in PRIDE – because their foolish pride (“I always have to be the hero; everyone depends on me“) keeps endangering the very ones they most desire to protect.
- Luke Skywalker scores high in SHAME – he’s afraid of his own power, so he hides on an island in the far corner of the galaxy.
- Don Draper scores high in ATTACHMENT – he can’t let go of the pleasures of drink and sex.
- Marty McFly scores high in AVOIDANCE – he avoids the pain of being seen as a coward, so he gives away his power and control to those who taunt him.
The key to moving from self-knowledge to practical wisdom lies in what you do when you’re triggered. One of the best ways to break the tragic curse of the hero’s fatal flaw is to regularly engage in a contemplative practice, such as mindfulness, meditation, or contemplative forms of prayer.
When you try something new, you learn something new. And that new action can lead to new possibilities. That’s when the real hero’s journey takes interesting twists and turns and undreamed possibilities! That’s when:
- Katniss and Harry allow others to help them and they triumph over President Snow and Volde… he-who-shall-not-be-named.
- Luke owns his destiny and sacrifices himself in a final effort to help the resistance fight another day.
- Don sobers up and keeps his pants on long enough to come up with the greatest commercial ever made.
- Or Marty McFly does this…
I often describe a contemplative practice as like learning to push in the clutch on a car. If the clutch is in, you’re disengaged from the reactive habits of the distracted mind. The motor might be revved up, but you’re dis-engaged from all those old patterns that drive you toward your fatal flaw. You are free. You are centered for wisdom.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Centering for Wisdom™ Assessment, or using it for professional development workshops or trainings, please click the inquiry button below. Plans are currently underway to build a web-based app where individuals or groups can take the CWA and receive individualized results, along with additional resources to support Centering for Wisdom™.