As a response to real or perceived threat, fight or flight are two recognized options. Fight or flight. I happen to think there’s a third. Debate.

“She staked Her Feathers — Gained an Arc —”, by Emily Dickinson, takes aim at some outside-the-box thinking.  Seldom discussed in conversation about achieving success are the benefits of debate. Part hesitation. Part self-talk, when a particular playing field refers to stock-market investments, say, or writing, acting, getting married, or, a new job.

She staked Her Feathers – Gained an Arc –
Debated – Rose again –
This time – beyond the estimate
Of Envy, or of Men –

And now, among Circumference –
Her steady Boat be seen –
At home – among the Billows – As
The Bough where she was born –

Whatever the cause, “She staked .. ”. She made the commitment. She put everything on the line. Agreed to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Keeping to my proposed scenarios, public companies need to be feathered with lots of investment. To overcome economic trauma, they must contend with hesitation, analysis-driven caution. It’s not passivity. And, it’s not unenterprising. It’s debate.

The poem’s beautiful imagery, “Gained an Arc — / Debated — Rose Again —” encourages the faint-hearted. What makes the scenario so beautiful is almost everyone’s ability to identify with idealistically taking on a project, only to be met with resistance. The “wind” or “predator” that prevents immediacy may be my “arc.” A chosen but flawed trajectory. As a writer, 101 opening paragraphs may be written before a knowing appears in the words.

Other troubles will appear; “.. the estimate ” or, limits others put on themselves and automatically seek to put on me.

Say I have talent and preparation and land a part that other, more experienced actors want. The tension can be terrible between my desire to be close to friends in my chosen field and the need to be free to follow my dreams. Staying in flight, regardless “Of Envy, or of Men —” and their prejudices, takes persistence and self-confidence.

The final lines offer an afterglow where mastery is the goal. Here, I’ve taken my place through dedication, despite all the barriers. If “And now, among Circumference — ” may include all the ocean of accomplishment on earth from the beginning to the end of time, my utmost ambition is to have my place there. “The Bough where she was born —” is a far cry from a comfortable little place in “Her steady Boat … / … among the Billows” .

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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