“The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one’s self to destiny.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
The notion of abandoning oneself to destiny is an interesting one. It implies an active yielding to something larger than oneself, a hidden power which has bearing upon one’s fate. This yielding or “abandon” as Napoleon called it accelerates the pace of purposeful living, much as a kayaker speeds toward his destination once he leaves the terra firma of the river bank.
The challenge, of course, lies in yielding to the correct influences. There are many forces at work in the world, all of which are competing for your attention. If you tense up as you enter the rapids and make a panicky turn for a quiet eddy in order to escape the pressure, you will soon find yourself caught in the eddy line. This swirly and unsteady line represents to the kayaker Napoleon’s “torment of precautions.” If the entry is unplanned, uncoordinated and the result of an inner panic, it is likely to do more harm than good.
I’ve observed over time that many people, when they approach the edges of their comfort zone, tend to brace against the surge of energy they are receiving from that hidden, higher power rather than yielding to it. They feel the whoosh of energy which comes as they relax (intentionally or accidentally) in the center of the current of life and instead of yielding or abandoning themselves to it, they tense up or channel the energy into some form of panic. This redirection results in withdrawal or aggression, both of which disrupt the natural flow of life.
The greater part of human history is the collective record of man’s choices relative to this one point.