"There are no second acts in American lives." ( F. Scott Fitzgerald )
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Let your mistakes be part of your style

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... , | Add Your comment

THE SECOND ACT BYWORDS SECTIONMistakes are essential to self growth : they can increase your creativity and propel you forward. While you should avoid repeating mistakes, don’t be a perfectionist. Trying to avoid mistakes by all means freezes your imagination, cripples your will and dissolves your impulse to take risks and create opportunities. Here's what a famous non-conformist artist said about it :
FRED ASTAIRE
The quote :

The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style.
Fred Astaire

My comment :
Don't wait to « be at the top » to learn that some "mistakes" are "happy accidents". You can't find your own creative flow without experimenting, without figuring and doing things in ways that others haven’t before.

My experience :
This quote reminds me of a teacher my daughter had in kindergarten. My daughter was 5 years old and loved to paint. Her paintings were inventive, bold, exuberant – what else ? Well, they were not « clean » enough for her teacher.
A paint stain or an unexpected choice of color were enough for this teacher to declare a painting « flawed » and to blame my daughter for her « errors ».

Fortunately, an important Juan Miró exhibition was running at the time here in Paris. I took my 5 year old daughter to see Miró’s paintings and I told her : « Look at all these stains, these doodles, these odd colors ! All these are errors. Every masterpiece contains at least one error. A painting becomes a work of art through a series of accidents. Only bad paintings are clean and flawless ».
JUAN MIRO UNTITLED Needless to say, my daughter hardly listened to my bookish message. But, Miró’s powers of persuasion being what they are, she never forgot his visual lesson on personal style. Five years later, she happily explores the art of painting, confident that an accident can have a good outcome.

What is your comment or experience in connection with this quote ?

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A mindfulness exercise : read this Marcel Proust excerpt

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... | Add Your comment

In my article How Proust found mindfulness - and how you can find it too, I invited you you to take a stroll down the path that led the celebrated French novelist to the discovery of mindfulness, while observing a hawthorn hedge during a walk in the countryside. It is my belief that Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time actually means «in search of mindfulness». It is also my belief that one of the best (and the easiest) mindfulness exercises consists in… reading an excerpt form the Search, particularly the « hawthorn hedge » excerpt.

Read this excerpt the way Maryanne Wolf, a professor of child development at Tufts University, advises us to read Proust in her book Proust and the Squid : The Story and Science of the Reading Brain : «as fast as you can without losing Proust’s meaning».

Also, I would add, without « thinking » :

  • Don’t try to analize his style, don’t try to guess how and when he will end his sentences.
  • Don’t ask yourself « what’s the point ».
  • Most of all, don’t ask yourself how you got « there » : in that secret realm where the long-gone memories, thrilling sensations, mysterious revelations of your childhood were waiting for you.

It’s Proust’s miracle. It’s mindfulness : just « be there ».


Marcel Proust commemorative French stamp.

The Hawthorn Hedge

(On a sunny afternoon, Marcel, who was a young boy at the time, found himself in front of a hawthorn hedge, during a walk with his father and his grandfather to Tansonville, near his family home at Combray).

I found the whole path throbbing with the fragrance of hawthorn-blossom. The hedge resembled a series of chapels, whose walls were no longer visible under the mountains of flowers that were heaped upon their altars; while underneath, the sun cast a square of light upon the ground, as though it had shone in upon them through a window; the scent that swept out over me from them was as rich, and as circumscribed in its range, as though I had been standing before the Lady-altar, and the flowers, themselves adorned also, held out each its little bunch of glittering stamens with an air of inattention, fine, radiating ‘nerves’ in the flamboyant style of architecture, like those which, in church, framed the stair to the rood-loft or closed the perpendicular tracery of the windows, but here spread out into pools of fleshy white, like strawberry-beds in spring. How simple and rustic, in comparison with these, would seem the dog-roses which, in a few weeks’ time, would be climbing the same hillside path in the heat of the sun, dressed in the smooth silk of their blushing pink bodices, which would be undone and scattered by the first breath of wind.

But it was in vain that I lingered before the hawthorns, to breathe in, to marshal before my mind (which knew not what to make of it), to lose in order to rediscover their invisible and unchanging odour, to absorb myself in the rhythm which disposed their flowers here and there with the light-heartedness of youth, and at intervals as unexpected as certain intervals of music; they offered me an indefinite continuation of the same charm, in an inexhaustible profusion, but without letting me delve into it any more deeply, like those melodies which one can play over a hundred times in succession without coming any nearer to their secret. I turned away from them for a moment so as to be able to return to them with renewed strength. My eyes followed up the slope which, outside the hedge, rose steeply to the fields, a poppy that had strayed and been lost by its fellows, or a few cornflowers that had fallen lazily behind, and decorated the ground here and there with their flowers like the border of a tapestry, in which may be seen at intervals hints of the rustic theme which appears triumphant in the panel itself; infrequent still, spaced apart as the scattered houses which warn us that we are approaching a village, they betokened to me the vast expanse of waving corn beneath the fleecy clouds, and the sight of a single poppy hoisting upon its slender rigging and holding against the breeze its scarlet ensign, over the buoy of rich black earth from which it sprang, made my heart beat as does a wayfarer’s when he perceives, upon some low-lying ground, an old and broken boat which is being caulked and made seaworthy, and cries out, although he has not yet caught sight of it, “The Sea!”


Hawthorn flower.

And then I returned to my hawthorns, and stood before them as one stands before those masterpieces of painting which, one imagines, one will be better able to ‘take in’ when one has looked away, for a moment, at something else; but in vain did I shape my fingers into a frame, so as to have nothing but the hawthorns before my eyes; the sentiment which they aroused in me remained obscure and vague, struggling and failing to free itself, to float across and become one with the flowers. They themselves offered me no enlightenment, and I could not call upon any other flowers to satisfy this mysterious longing. And then, inspiring me with that rapture which we feel on seeing a work by our favourite painter quite different from any of those that we already know, or, better still, when some one has taken us and set us down in front of a picture of which we have hitherto seen no more than a pencilled sketch, or when a piece of music which we have heard played over on the piano bursts out again in our ears with all the splendour and fullness of an orchestra, my grandfather called me to him, and, pointing to the hedge of Tansonville, said: “You are fond of hawthorns; just look at this pink one; isn’t it pretty?”

And it was indeed a hawthorn, but one whose flowers were pink, and lovelier even than the white. It, too, was in holiday attire, for one of those days which are the only true holidays, the holy days of religion, because they are not appointed by any capricious accident, as secular holidays are appointed, upon days which are not specially ordained for such observances, which have nothing about them that is essentially festal—but it was attired even more richly than the rest, for the flowers which clung to its branches, one above another, so thickly as to leave no part of the tree undecorated, like the tassels wreathed about the crook of a rococo shepherdess, were every one of them ‘in colour,’ and consequently of a superior quality, by the aesthetic standards of Combray, to the ‘plain,’ if one was to judge by the scale of prices at the ‘stores’ in the Square, or at Camus’s, where the most expensive biscuits were those whose sugar was pink. And for my own part I set a higher value on cream cheese when it was pink, when I had been allowed to tinge it with crushed strawberries. And these flowers had chosen precisely the colour of some edible and delicious thing, or of some exquisite addition to one’s costume for a great festival, which colours, inasmuch as they make plain the reason for their superiority, are those whose beauty is most evident to the eyes of children, and for that reason must always seem more vivid and more natural than any other tints, even after the child’s mind has realised that they offer no gratification to the appetite, and have not been selected by the dressmaker. And, indeed, I had felt at once, as I had felt before the white blossom, but now still more marvelling, that it was in no artificial manner, by no device of human construction, that the festal intention of these flowers was revealed, but that it was Nature herself who had spontaneously expressed it (with the simplicity of a woman from a village shop, labouring at the decoration of a street altar for some procession) by burying the bush in these little rosettes, almost too ravishing in colour, this rustic ‘pompadour.’

PROUST MANUSCRIPT Detail of a Marcel Proust manuscript.

Marcel Proust (1871 — 1922), Swann’s Way, In Search of Lost Time, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1889-1930).

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How Marcel Proust found mindfulness - and how you can find it too

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... , , | Add Your comment

GET COMFORTIn my article Curb multitasking by practicing mindfulness I wrote that, in short, mindfulness means « being there ». By bringing your awareness to focus on what your mind experiences at the present moment, you can : accurately perceive what is really happening – both outside and inside yourself ; appreciate the present experience without the need to judge it ; understand situations just as they are, create peak experiences in living and take effective action.

Now, I invite you to take a stroll down the path that led French writer Marcel Proust to the discovery of mindfulness. Not because I am a devoted Proust reader (I am) but because I feel the excerpt I’ll submit to your attention could be useful to those trying to practice mindfulness. I’ll go as far as to say that In Search of Lost Time actually means « in search of mindfulness ».
But even if Proust’s character in the novel reached mindfulness at times and was able to describe his quest in an unique way, it came in «flashes» : he never got any control over it, hence he could never plan or practice it. Nevertheless, I think his work is an inspiration for all those who want to understand the mental process leading to « being there ».

The purpose of our journey in time
Proust’s readers (if you are not one of them I encourage you to give it a try) know that one major theme of the Search is the need to go beyond the fleeting satisfactions or the unclear joys we get from our experiences. According to Proust, the purpose of our journey in time should be to reach the core of our impressions, hence to unveil the realities and truths hidden in even the most plain objects or life forms.
My readings about mindfulness practices (not the traditional, Buddhist ones, but the «secular» ones) made me irresistibly think of one of the most famous passages of the Search : when young Marcel, «the Narrator», discovers and observes «the hawthorn hedge» near the village of Combray. I consider it an outstanding example of how one engages in the exploration of both his/her thoughts and outer realities while focusing on a present experience, and of how the mind struggles to «be there» and «free itself».

Going from A to B... along the hawthorn hedge
As I mentioned before, getting «there» means going from A (Identify experience as mental content) to B (Observe life freely - without getting caught in the automatic identification with the «voices» and «scripts» your mind forges when «thinking»).
This includes : Noticing that the mind is continuously making commentary or judgement ; Admitting that this «babble» is not concrete reality or absolute truth, but just a discursive habit, an automatic «script» ; Distinguishing your thoughts from automatic babble and habitual reactions ; Releasing attachment to these habits.

HAWTHORN FLOWERS

Hawthorn flowers

Marcel, who was a young boy at the time, went from A to B without knowing it (still, he knew there had to be an answer for his «mysterious longing»). This happened one sunny afternoon in the countryside, during a walk with his father and his grandfather to Tansonville, near his family home at Combray.

(he observes his mind's automatic scripts)

When he «found the whole path throbbing with the fragrance of hawthorn-blossom», his mind got instantly filled with chatter : comparisons, judgements, connections to past experiences and so on. «The hedge resembled a series of chapels» ; «the scent that swept out over me from them was as rich, and as circumscribed in its range, as though I had been standing before the Lady-altar» ; the flowers held out «radiating ‘nerves’ in the flamboyant style of architecture, like those which, in church, framed the stair to the rood-loft or closed the perpendicular tracery of the windows»…

(he admits that his automatic scripts prevent him from fully experiencing the present moment)

After a while, «the Narrator» becomes deeply frustrated with this chatter : «But it was in vain that I lingered before the hawthorns, to breathe in, to marshal before my mind (which knew not what to make of it) their invisible and unchanging odor».
He feels that these «scripts» offer him «an indefinite continuation of the same charm», «but without letting me delve into it any more deeply, like those melodies which one can play over a hundred times in succession without coming any nearer to their secret».

(he tries to distingush his thoughts from automatic scripts)

He therefore awkwardly tries to release attachment to his discursive habit in order to observe freely the mental content provided by the hawthorns :
«I turned away from them for a moment so as to be able to return to them with renewed strength» ; «then I returned to my hawthorns, and stood before them as one stands before those masterpieces of painting which, one imagines, one will be better able to ‘take in’ when one has looked away, for a moment, at something else; but in vain did I shape my fingers into a frame, so as to have nothing but the hawthorns before my eyes; the sentiment which they aroused in me remained obscure and vague, struggling and failing to free itself, to float across and become one with the flowers.»

(he releases attachment to automatic scripts)

Suddenly, Marcel receives unexpected help from his grandfather, who shows him the way to mindfulness by simply telling him : “You are fond of hawthorns; just look at this pink one; isn’t it pretty?”
These no-nonsense words («just look») propel the boy’s mind to a superior level of awareness. Bringing his mind to focus on the pink flower, he feels «that rapture which we feel on seeing a work by our favorite painter quite different from any of those that we already know, or, better still, when someone has taken us and set us down in front of a picture of which we have hitherto seen no more than a pencilled sketch...».

Now he simply looks at the pink hawthorn the way children look at biscuits covered with pink sugar, «whose beauty is most evident to the eyes of children, and for that reason must always seem more vivid and more natural than any other tints, even after the child’s mind has realized that they offer no gratification to the appetite.»
Comparisons with "Lady-altars", "flamboyant styles of architecture", churches, stairs and windows, now they're all gone ! Marcel reaches the core of the present experience. Better yet, he finally understands the lesson that the hawthorn had meant to teach him by being there, in front of his mind :
«And, indeed, I had felt at once […] that it was in no artificial manner, by no device of human construction, that the festal intention of these flowers was revealed, but that it was Nature herself who had spontaneously expressed it.»

... Or take a shortcut
Now, do me a favor. In the same way that Marcel Proust learned to «just look», please try to «just read » the full excerpt from his Search here. Read it the way Maryanne Wolf, a professor of child development at Tufts University, advises us to read Proust in her new book Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain : «as fast as you can without losing Proust’s meaning».
Guess what ? In reading how Marcel Proust struggled to live mindfully you will find one of the best (and the easiest) mindfulness practices. Why ? Don’t let your mind bother to find out. Just «be there».

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How multitasking messes with your brain

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... , , | Add Your comment

Don’t believe multitasking means doing several things at the same time, helping you to be more productive. It means constant switching and pivoting between tasks. It actually leads you to concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that you’re supposed to be concentrating on. When the stakes get higher, multitasking can stress you out.

I was a multitasking addict. For the last 12 years, I worked as editor in chief of several magazines. If you are not capable of multitasking, you cannot survive in this job more than 6 months. Or so I thought. I was not only capable of multitasking, I loved it. I added more and more tasks to the pile.
Edit an article a free-lance journalist had sent me by mail while talking on the phone with the advertising department about the next cover, while discussing changes in the magazine’s layout with the art director : what a ball ! People looked up to me : « What an extraordinary capacity you have, Tessa, to concentrate on so many different things at the same time ! »
After several years of multitasking orgy, my brain began to misfire. I had attention gaps, it took me more and more time to concentrate on the most important or the most urgent task awaiting me. In fact I knew no longer what was the most urgent task, my priorities were all messed up. Above all, everything I did bored me and each task became a drag.

The attempt to operate like computers. There's not much research on the addictive nature of multitasking. But there is plenty of research on the hidden costs of multitasking. Actually, every time you multitask, you're not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly. You use your « mental CEO » : those « executive control » processes found to be associated with the brain's prefrontal cortex and other key neural regions such as the parietal cortex.
Researchers say that executive control involves two distinct, complementary stages : goal shifting ("I want to do this now instead of that") and rule activation ("I'm turning off the rules for that and turning on the rules for this"). Both stages help people unconsciously switch between tasks.
Rule activation itself takes significant amounts of time, several tenths of a second - which can add up when people switch back and forth repeatedly between tasks.
As Walter Kirn puts it in his article, The Autumn of the Multitaskers, published in The Atlantic Magazine, multitasking is

the attempt by human beings to operate like computers, often done with the assistance of computers.
The brain deludes itself. But what happens to a computer when mutitasking ? In an operating system, each task consumes system storage and other resources. As more tasks are started, the system may slow down or begin to run out of shared storage. The same happens to the human brain. Dr. John J.Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, explains : « The brain is a sequential processor, unable to pay attention to two things at the same time. Businesses and schools praise multitasking, but research clearly shows that it reduces productivity and increases mistakes. »
So, why do we still tend to believe multitasking is efficient ? « We frequently overestimate our ability to handle multiple tasks. « People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves », says neuroscientist Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT. And « the brain is very good at deluding itself. ».

Hits against your performance. You may think you can make a phone call while reading your e-mails, but actually « you cannot focus on one while doing the other. That's because of what's called interference between the two tasks », Miller explains. « They both involve communicating via speech or the written word, and so there's a lot of conflict between the two of them. »
Even simple tasks can overwhelm the brain when we try to do several at once. For tasks that are at all complicated, no matter how good you have become at multitasking, you're still going to suffer hits against your performance. But there’s worse. Discover how multitasking adversely affects your ability to learn and absorb information, your ability to drive, and why it causes premature aging.

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How multitasking affects driving, learning, aging

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GET FOCUSEvery time you multitask, you're not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly. You use your « mental CEO ». Therefore, multitasking can adversely affect how you learn and absorb information, put your life at risk when driving, even cause premature aging.

Researchers say that our brain’s executive control involves two distinct, complementary stages : goal shifting ("I want to do this now instead of that") and rule activation ("I'm turning off the rules for that and turning on the rules for this"). Both stages help people unconsciously switch between tasks.
No matter how good you have become at multitasking, you're still going to suffer hits against your performance. But there’s worse. Discover how multitasking adversely affects your ability to learn and absorb information, your ability to drive, and why it causes premature aging.

n Driver inattention
Driver inattention is involved in about 80 percent of crashes, according to a 2006 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"If you test people while they're texting or talking on the phone, they will actually miss a lot of things that are in their visual periphery", says Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
DRIVER INATTENTIONA mere half second of time lost to task switching can mean the difference between life and death for a driver using a cell phone, because while the car is not totally under control, it can travel far enough to crash into obstacles the driver might have otherwise avoided.
"If you're driving while cell-phoning, then your performance is going to be as poor as if you were legally drunk", says David Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.

n Not enough power left for learning
Multitasking causes a kind of brownout in the brain. David Meyer says all the lights go dim because there just isn't enough power to go around. So, the brain starts shutting things down — things like neural connections to important information. In a computer's operating system, each task consumes system storage and other resources. As more tasks are started, the system may slow down or begin to run out of shared storage.
To restore those connections, we will have to repeat much of the thought process that created them in the first place. The technical name for creating, or recreating, neural pathways is "spreading activation". It involves building connections step by step.
When we're interrupted, re-establishing those connections can take seconds or hours.

n Premature aging
Research studies show that doing more than one thing at a time is a major cause of premature aging. John Lorinc, in his article Driven to Distraction, writes that, "we must acknowledge the self-inflicted memory lapses triggered by information overload, chronic interruptions, and relentless electronic multi-tasking".
Multitasking boosts the level of stress-related hormones (cortisol, adrenaline) and wears down our systems through biochemical friction, prematurely aging us.
Here are some warning signs :

  • short-term memory problems
  • gaps in attentiveness
  • reduced ability to concentrate
  • reduced ability to focus and analyze
In the long term, these signs may become a major neurological problem : atrophy of the systems.
Fortunately, there are many methods and tips that can help you moderate multitasking, by learning how to switch between the right tasks at the right time. Remember :
To do two things at once is to do neither.
Publilius Syrus, Roman slave,
first century B.C.

Read more :
How Multitasking Puts You Behind Schedule

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How multitasking puts you behind schedule

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... , | Add Your comment

GET CREATIVEBusinesses and schools praise multitasking as a time-saving technique. Well, they’re wrong. Research clearly shows that multitasking not only creates gaps in your attentiveness and increases mistakes, it also prevents you from getting things done on schedule. In other words it reduces productivity. It’s basic math.

Multitasking messes with the brain in more than one way. But there is another aspect: the inability to meet deadlines. Multitasking may seem more efficient on the surface, but actually takes more time in the end.
Imagine three tasks A, B and C, that would require 10 minutes each (or 10 hours or 10 days). If they are executed consecutively, the first is complete at H+10, the second at H+20, the third at H +30.
Now imagine that you spend 5 minutes alternately on each task. The result speaks for itself :

MULTITASKING PUTS YOU BEHIND SCHEDULE

You will not save time in completing task C, you will have a 5 minutes (or hours or days) delay in completing task B, and a 10 minutes delay in completing task A.
If you take into account the time required for the individual reconcentration between two tasks, multitasking leads you to a much larger delay.

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About the second act - behind the scenes

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... | Add Your comment

The Second Act is about growing through failure to become your best self. My purpose is to encourage you to look at hardship and heartbreak as fruitful experiences ; make chaos your ally in embracing the idea of a life change ; use adversity as a fuel for your imagination and your ambition ; draw new strength from sour grapes to pull yourself up to a higher altitude. Above the intellectual garbage produced by the winner-takes-all prepared script.


My name is Tessa Ivascu.
I am a French journalist and professional development teacher, devoting much of my time to a new challenge : writing articles and reports for The Second Act… in English.
My goal is to make this site a place where I can share my knowledge and experience from ups and downs and my passion for self growth, while helping others to change their second act into an act of fruition.
I also have a Master’s degree in English and American Literatures. I once wrote a 120-page essay on F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose ironic words welcome you at the very top of this page.

More about my background soon.
Are you there ? At rock bottom ?

"Where black is the color,
Where none is the number",

as Bob Dylan puts it in this song(*) ?

An avalanche of setbacks has swept away your integrity, your well-being, your life-style. You have lost your job, your spouse, your youth, you worry about your finances, your health, your children.

Your motivation, your will-power, your responsiveness : all evaporated ! You are paralyzed by doubt, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and injustice.

I was there. Now I am here, writing for you and for all those who think their life is not working anymore. And if you are here, reading these words, it means that, after all, black is NOT your color and none is NOT your number.

It's just that you go through your Second Act. A play never ends in the middle of the Second Act. Instead, this is where the story takes off, where action happens and characters evolve towards culmination (hence the word I invented for this site's url : second act + active = secondactive.com).

If you prefer to continue by learning more about the site's specifics, click here.

There are no second acts
in American lives.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Many people misunderstand this famous quote from The Last Tycoon. Fitzgerald DOES NOT say people cannot reinvent themselves. On the contrary, he says that most people can only reinvent themselves, again and again.

But these reinventions are not true Second Acts, only replays of the First Act, following the same script we have been programmed to learn by heart : strive for success, ignore failure ! Imitate winners, despise losers ! Pretend they don’t exist. And if you become one of them, you are strongly urged to clear off too.

Failure makes you invisible. The only way to regain visibility is to reinvent yourself, fake amnesia and say : « There is no second act… ». This is Fitzgerald’s sarcastic conclusion. Although he mocks specifically the American mentality of his time, his words have an universal and a timeless meaning.

We all live many acts, but for some of us, each act is the first act.
The First Act is a delusion

Over the years, as a student or as a teacher, as a free-lance reporter or as an editor in chief, as a manager or as an employee, as a friend or as a member of several families, I have met all sorts of people and I have witnessed their happy moments and their hard times.

Some have proved to be lifelong learners, using both success and failure to upsize their life and the life of those around them. Others have remained trapped by their absorbed belief in the restoration of their first act, desperately trying to recover what they had lost and to erase everything that had happened since.

They are still there : wasting their time trying to follow the start-all-over-again-from-scratch recipe ; making the same mistakes over and over again ; becoming more and more vulnerable to adversity ; falling from bad to worse : until burnout.

The belief in the recurrence of the first act is not only delusional, it is counterproductive. It deprives you of the chance to wake up in the morning and do only the things you love doing ; to go to bed at night proud of having expressed your skills in a way that makes you happy and that touches people's life.

I do not intend to convince you that hard times are great times. I do not want to advise you, as many self help experts do, to "make failure your friend". Failure is NOT your friend : it is too violent, too bitter, too chilling to become one. But it is not your enemy either.

Failure is a partner. A debater. A pathfinder.
The Second Act is your chance

Failure plays devil’s advocate to point out what’s wrong in your life. It shows you the way to the areas where you have the greatest potential of improvement. Failure forces you to stretch yourself and change your fixed mindset into a growth mindset. It prompts you to strip away of the nonessential and to uncover talents you never knew you had.

There is no prepared script for the Second Act of your life. The Second Act is the act of freedom. It gives you the opportunity to write your own script and to use your power to imagine better. To emerge wiser and stronger. To direct your energy to accomplishing the only things that matter to you.

The Second Act is your chance to leave your footprint.

I already quoted Bob Dylan and F. Scott Fitzgerald, two of the three authors who made me love the sound of English language. Let me finish by quoting the third one, William Shakespeare :

What's past is prologue.
(It is no coincidence that these words appear at the very beginning of... the Second Act of The Tempest).

Dear readers, I wish you all a « secondactive » journey !

(*) A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963.

And now Take the Seven Steps.

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