Ever seen the movie How to train your dragon? It is brilliant! In the movie, we meet Hiccup, a young, inventive Viking, son of the village leader. Their village is a village of dragon fighters, as they are continually raided by dragons. Hiccup, clandestinely, joins the battle and when he downs a dragon, he cannot bring himself to kill it. Instead they become friends. Hiccup learns that dragons are not bad, just misunderstood. He learns to ride the dragon and together they train to become one in flight. Of course both the villagers and dragons don’t take easily to this new reality, but the example of this boy and his dragon transforms the relationship between the villagers and the dragons.
We live in a world where we are taught, like the villagers, that we are surrounded by danger, and we have learned to fight it, fight it hard. But instead of going away, the dangers we perceive become stronger. And in order to win, we fight harder. But somehow our battles seem futile, the enemy gets stronger and stronger. We have been indoctrinated by the survival of the fittest. And most of us interpret this to be survival of the strongest, or survival of the toughest, which both are legitimate interpretations. But these are not the only meanings of fittest. When we look up fit in the dictionary, we also find “Of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose: having the requisite qualities or skills to undertake something competently.” In the light of evolution this seems to be more fitting. When things don’t work the way they used to work, the fittest develops new skills and qualities, she or he adapts.
Like Hiccup, I did things differently then the people in my village. At a critical point on my journey, I understood that in order to kill the dragon, I had to kill myself. I was unable to kill myself and instead I befriended the dragon. Now I am learning to ride it, and boy what a thrill that is. I do believe that when we stop trying to kill our dragons and dare to look them in the eyes, we will discover that they aren’t the enemy, our fear of dragons is. When what we are doing isn’t working, it is time to face our fears and find a different way to approach our dragons. What I have learned is that what we resist, what we are unwilling to allow, becomes stronger, and what we befriend, what we are not only willing to allow but appreciate, becomes cooperative. I have learned that there is a different way to perceive our problems. I have learned that when we allow them, are willing to intimately know them without the hidden goal to ultimately destroy them, appreciate, and then train ourselves in riding them, our problems change into opportunities, and in doing so we change our reality.
Our perceptions govern our reality. Our perceptions are governed by our beliefs. Beliefs are nothing more than deeply engrained thought patterns, some handed down from generation to generation. It is time to let go of beliefs that aren’t working anymore. It is time to perceive differently. It is time to adapt. Until now we were taught to either survive or die. Survival instincts lead to us to kill whatever we believe is between us and winning, for winning is surviving. That old adagio isn’t true anymore. If we want to live fully and survive as a species, we have to shift paradigms, we need to reprogram ourselves to the new motto: thrive or die. Thriving is very different from surviving. It is a reality in which there is no separation between ourselves and the dragons, where we take care of each other and synergistically create a world that fits everyone’s needs. We cannot thrive until we befriend our dragons, and train ourselves to ride them. It is time to adapt, to develop new skills and thrive.