Why You Haven’t Found The Silver Bullet

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The concept of the silver bullet first originated in folklore. In some stories a bullet cast from silver was the only way to defeat certain foe— Wikipedia says “werewolves, witches, and other monsters”. It has since become an idiom for a quick and easy way to solve a difficult problem. I think a werewolf qualifies as difficult problem.

I often want a silver bullet.

Particularly on the days when I find myself looking at what others are doing and feeling behind and small. It’s the kind of thing that keeps you stuck. I want to get from where I am to where I think others are, and I want it fast and easy.

I want more movement. I want more attention. I want more to show for all the work that I’m doing.

The silver bullet is the fast and easy solution. It resolves the tension. It solves the problem. Sometimes the tension between where I am and where I want to be is difficult to bear. A silver bullet would be a much welcomed relief to the struggle.

There’s one problem with silver bullets: they don’t work.[Tweet that]

If the difficulty that you’re facing is comparable to a werewolf and the silver bullet doesn’t do the job, you’re going to have a big hairy (and now very angry) issue on your hands.

Marketers prey on our desire for the silver bullet cure-all solution. You’ve seen the signs on the side of the road: “Make 10k from home in the first month. Call now!” Or the internet marketer claims: “Stop spinning your wheels and live the life you’ll love in 5 days. Sign up now!”.

Man, those sound so good! I want them. Don’t you?

They’re calling out to the silver bullet desire that the tension between where you are and where you want to go can be solved quickly and easily (“with just 10 easy payments of $199.99”).

If resolving the tension was that easy— if there was a silver bullet that could take care of all your challenges— you would have found it by now. What I know of those who read this blog is that you are smart enough to figure things out.

There’s nothing that you’re missing.
There’s no secret that you have to discover.
There’s no easy solution.

The only way out is through the tension.[Tweet that]

(Though bailing out is always an option…)

Find help. Ask for support. But don’t take the easy way out. The risk of the silver bullet cure is that you’d give up on the struggle and give up on staying in it.

The good news is that there are in fact other ways to kill a werewolf (so the internet tells me). They are much more difficult. There’s more struggle involved. They’re messy. You might even take a few hits along the way. But if you keep fighting and stay in the tension, it is possible.

Never give up.

(photo: “Dodged” John Spade/CC)

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  1. How I discovered this blog was by a voice search on my phone . I had just changed parking spots after I had remembered something I needed at a store and quickly reparked and as I opened my door (drivers side toward the curb on a one way ) there was a 9mm silver bullet lying next to the curb directly out my door . So with that in mind I would like to suggest that I believe in silver bullets for me , in fact metaphorically I find silver bullets all the time. It is a narrow way and the path less walked upon but it’s there and there are abundant resources . Some who have worked so hard for their bounty may not like it or acknowledge it but if you look at it in a different light it may be an oasis for some who have worked just as hard yet have worked in conditions that weren’t as prosperous . We all need a reprieve from the treadmill a step back from the demands of our time and energy and from our own choices of activity
    There is a hustle out there that has become all too acceptable and many are wrapped up in the fatigue of it all. There is an awareness , a truth and a dedication to it and a beauty about it . Grace life needs to be a little less surreal.

    1. This is great James. I love how you stumbled on this post, and your perspective on the “silver bullets” in your life. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  2. I wish for silver bullets all the time. Right now I’m in the learning process. Learning silver bullets do not work! I’ve taken some “risky” leaps in the past but they didn’t result the way I thought they would. Learning!

    The dream that’s always been in my heart won’t stop calling me. So, now, I’m trying something different. Trying to go steady. Something’s gotta give, right?! I agree with you, “Never Give Up”.

    Thank you, Dan! I’m exploring your work and WOW what a fresh breath of air. I don’t come across the way you put this stuff very often, so this is meaningful for me. In fact, your words have helped me to feel good about what I’m doing and how I can express it to others, beyond “career transitioning” — actually, I’m trying to create a meaningful work life for myself.

    Bless you (n’ me).

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