You MUST face your dragons.
'There's No Such Thing as a Dragon' is about a boy who finds a dragon one morning. Everyone he meets through the day tells him it isn't real and each time it is ignored the dragon grows in size. Eventually the dragon becomes so large people can't help but acknowledge it; by that time it's too late.
Here's my butchered version of the story.
A little boy wakes up one morning to find a small dragon sitting at the end of his bed. It is green, scaly, with big black eyes and the size of a kitten.
"Wow, a dragon! I thought you weren't real."
The boy gets up and leaves the room to go to the toilet and brush his teeth. When he returns the dragon is still sitting there, watching him carefully. It looks slightly bigger then before but the boy shrugs it off. He gets dressed, smells his mothers pancakes cooking from downstairs, and follows the scent.
"Mum, there's a dragon in my room."
"Don't be silly. There's no such thing as dragons."
"No buts. Sit down and eat your breakfast."
A thumping comes from the stairs as the dragon, now the size of a dog, hurries down and sits by the boy. His mother serves up some pancakes and before the boy can touch them the dragon gobbles them up.
"Mum, the dragon ate my pancakes!"
"What did I tell you. There's no such thing as dragons. Now go and finish getting ready for school."
As the boy leaves the house he looks back to the dragon sitting in the window, which is ominously bigger than before.
For an amazing reading breakdown of this story watch this 13-minute video by Jordan Petersen. This will be the best 13-minutes you spend today.
You must acknowledge your dragons.
You probably get the gist of the story from here. People keep denying the dragon, it grows bigger and bigger until it becomes an out-of-control beast and destroys everything. Only when the dragon is acknowledged does it shrink back to kitten-size.
But what does this mean?
There are things in life which are a problem and we must either solve them or at least manage them before they get too big. Denying a problem only allows it to grow; eventually you'll have to deal with it and when you do it will be much harder to solve than if you'd dealt with it earlier.
A perfect example is your health.
When a man hits his thirties he is often in reasonable health. Not as great as his twenties, he doesn't exercise as much and drinks too often these days, but it's manageable. The problem is kitten-sized.
As the years go by he finds his waistline expanding, he gets out of breath climbing a few stairs, simple physical acts like putting on his shoes become difficult and he feels stiff and sore.
One day he looks in the mirror and hates what has become. The dragon is massive and tearing his life to shreds. He could have dealt with it earlier by exercising regularly and improving his diet but instead he chose denial; denial fuels the dragon.
Now he's in a fight for his life.
Only when you acknowledge the dragon will you be able to slay it.
With most problems the easiest solution is to sweep them under the rug. Maybe they'll go away if you don't acknowledge they exist. Unfortunately, life doesn't work like that.
The first step in solving a problem is accepting there is a problem in the first place. It requires being honest and taking responsibility - two extremely hard things to do without outside help. Most of the time the people closest to you will be able to highlight your problems before you're willing to acknowledge them. Use this to your advantage and ask them serious questions:
- What are my biggest weaknesses?
- What could I be doing better?
- Where am I going wrong?
- What dragons am I ignoring?
You won't like their answers; dragons are never pretty. Face them with all your might and set in motion the actions to slay them.
A dragon will never be easy to slay. The earlier you can get to it the easier the fight will be.
A. I offer you $1000 now but in a year you would owe me $10,000.
B. You give me $1000 now and in a year I'll give you $10,000 back.
Which would you choose? The answer seems obvious but in real-life most of us choose the first option.
Option A is easier, it's immediate gratification and it allows a dragon to grow. This is a short-term win with a long-term loss. We tend to only acknowledge what the benefits are and neglect considering the second and third order consequences of our decisions.
Option B is harder, requiring you to lose in the short-term to win in the future. This is the choice we all need to make.
The earlier you can recognise situations where a dragon may grow the earlier you can put an end to it. These can show up anywhere so you must be vigilant in your thinking, responsible in your actions and acknowledge your dragons.
I'm not sure how many 4-year-olds understand what they're reading in this book - the finest life lesson I've ever understood.
Acknowledge your dragons before they grow out of control.
Whether they be financial dragons, relationship dragons, health dragons or business dragons; face them early and often.
Be brave, it will hurt. Be corageous, it will be tough. Be honest, you'll win.