Professional Development Forum

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  • 1.  The Second Arrow

    Posted 01-11-2023 14:01
    Hey'all - Has anyone ever heard of "The Second Arrow of Suffering"? I just learned about it today, from one of the weekly newsletters I get delivered to my inbox. It's a Buddhist parable that teaches us to deal with tough situations more skillfully: the first arrow is The Tough Thing (an unexpected delay, a heated meeting, etc.) and the second arrow is How We React to That Thing. While we cannot control the first arrow, we can control the second. 

    Though the linked article talks about examples in a more personal setting, it got me thinking about the things that happen within a professional realm, and how often I add stress with my reaction. I'm feeling the "injury" of both arrows! 

    So how do we avoid the second arrow? Well - we can't, really! Hahaha!
    We all react to things - it's human nature. BUT! We can, over time, recognize the reaction and learn to frame it in a more productive way. 

    Have y'all ever heard of this? Experienced it in your lives? What do you think? 

    Stay awesome,

  • 2.  RE: The Second Arrow

    Posted 01-16-2023 10:47
    I had never heard of this before, @Quinn Drew! It is a nice metaphor for something that is often difficult to control.

    My relationship with "the second arrow" has definitely changed and evolved throughout my professional career. When I first graduated college, I often reacted to issues at work with BIG FEELINGS. This lead to unnecessary stress and being way too hard on myself.

    As my career has gone on, I learned how to control those feelings and have reactions that minimize the frustration of "the second arrow." I often tell myself, "This won't matter five years from now, even five days from now. Think about it for five minutes and move on." Sometimes I still overreact but it happens a lot less often. I also use those moments to learn from my mistakes.​​